NEW DELHI: A 32-year-old unnamed woman in Russia had a lump mysteriously migrating on her face. In a series of horrific selfies, she had documented the crawling lump under her skin that turned out to be a parasitic worm.
According to a case report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the woman had first noted the lump appeared below her left eye (Panel A). After five days, it had moved to above her left eyelid (Panel B), and 10 days later, the lump moved to the upper lip (Panel C) and caused visible swelling. In selfies, she documented these changes under her skin before ophthalmologist were able to remove it.
Doctors surgically pulled out the live parasitic roundworm known as Dirofilaria repens from the woman’s face.
“The parasite can appear and disappear in few minutes,” Dr. Vladimir Kartashev, a professor of medicine at Rostov State Medical University who saw the patient, told CNN in an email. “Doctors who are not familiar with the disease don’t believe … the patients. That’s why I asked the patient to make selfies.”
Dirofilaria repens is a zoonotic filarial nematode and normally found in dogs and other carnivores. It transmitted to humans as a larvae through a infected mosquito bite.
The worms typically remain infertile in humans and surgical removal of the worm is curative. In the woman’s case, “It took not more than 15 minutes,” Kartashev said.