A Case Of Human Myiasis Under Investigation

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Human Myiasis

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is investigating a local case of human myiasis and urged the public to take measures to guard against the disease.

The case involved a 24-year-old man living in a rehabilitation centre in Aberdeen. On April 8, staff of the institution found his right ear bleeding with a worm. He was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital on the same day and was discharged on April 13.

CHP's investigations revealed that he had no recent travel history.

This is the second case of human myiasis this year. Fifteen cases were reported in 2006, six cases in 2005, eight in 2004 and nine in 2003.

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

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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.

Members of the public, 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 could 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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