Medicine

Moving lump on woman's face turns out to be parasitic worm

Moving lump on woman's face turns out to be parasitic worm

The 32-year-old woman from Russian Federation declared in a social media post that everything started shortly after she returned from a trip to rural Moscow.

A 32-year-old woman in Russian Federation noticed a small lump beneath her left eye, and she took a selfie to document the mysterious bulge, according to the report on The New England Journal of Medicine.

Aside from some itching and burning, she experienced no other symptoms and dismissed it as nothing serious but, five days later, the bump had moved to the top of her eye lid and after 10 days it resurfaced on her upper lip. The mysterious bulge, however, started moving, with doctors discovering that there was a worm under her skin for two weeks. DNA testing subsequently revealed the removed creature to be the parasitic nematode known as Dirofilaria repens. It took two weeks before she made a decision to get the lump examined by doctors.

The doctor who consulted the Russian Federation woman declared that the parasite "accidentally" infested her. And it was a restless one at that, according to a short report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In humans the worms cause a lump under the skin that occasionally move around. The woman recalled being bitten "frequently" by mosquitoes during her travels. The Dirofilaria repens usually infects carnivores such as dogs. The 32-year-old took a photo to document it and carried on.

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"A physical examination showed a superficial moving oblong nodule at the upper eyelid", doctors who treated the woman, wrote in the journal. The agency further said that humans can at times get infected with the worm accidently. With the help of forceps, the parasite was surgically removed.

The parasite, a cousin of heartworm, is found in Europe, Africa and Asia and can grow to as long as six inches.

Once under a human's skin, the worm, which is spread by mosquito bites, can not breed.

Medical experts agree this parasite is just another reason to do what you can to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

The lead author of the report in NEJM, Vladimir Kartashev, an infectious disease expert at Rostov State Medical University in Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, told The Washington Post in an email that D. repens is an "emerging disease" in the western part of the former Soviet Union and certain parts of Europe.