Hong Kong Follows Up A Human Myiasis Case

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health followed up a human case of myiasis involving a 79-year-old woman and urged people to take measures to guard against the disease caused by fly maggots.

The patient, living in Yuen Long, presented with worms on a wound of her right foot and was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital on December 18. Maggots were found by the hospital from the wound. She is now stable condition.

CHP's investigations revealed that she had no record of recent travel.

This is the eighth case of human myiasis this year. Fourteen cases were reported in 2007, 15 in 2006 and six in 2005.

Human myiasis cases are caused by the parasitic maggots of flies which infest with larvae the superficial wounds and body orifices such as mouth, ear and nose of debilitated people.

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The larvae feed on the host's dead or living tissue, and may cause serious tissue damage, resulting in loss of function, injury to the skin, secondary invasion and death.

People, especially staff of elderly homes, are advised to take note of the following measures:

* All wounds should be treated immediately. Wound fluids and blood are known to be attractive to some species of flies. To avoid myiasis infestation, wounds should be cleaned and dressed properly;

* Fly infestation can be avoided by proofing measures, including installation of fly screening materials to human dwelling places, dressing of wounds and maintaining good ventilation;

* Observe good personal and environmental hygiene;

* Staff of elderly homes should ensure good environmental hygiene, be alert to inmates developing symptoms of the disease and arrange for inmates feeling unwell to seek medical consultation promptly.

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