Doctors remove moving lump from a Russian woman’s face

Nora Nguyen
June 26, 2018

In this case, the woman has reportedly made a full recovery.

It was a parasite - and it was living inside her face. "Five days later, it had moved to above her left eye, and 10 days after that to the upper lip", Dr. Vladimir Kartashev of Rostov State Medical University in Russian Federation wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ten days after she first noticed it, the worm had crawled all the way down into her lip, causing it to swell up.

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While there are three types of Dirofilaria that can affect human beings -D. immitis, D. repens (this was the one in our Russian friend's face), and D. tenuis - humans are not considered to be the natural hosts of these roundworms.

A 32-year-old patient took selfies of a lump that shifted around her face. Five days after she first noticed the lump, it migrated to above her left eye.

They removed the squirming lump from the woman's face using local anesthetic and a pair of forceps. They believed she picked it up from a mosquito bite. The 32-year-old took a photo to document it and carried on.

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NEJM reported that she went to see an ophthalmologist, who did a physical examination and found a "superficial moving oblong nodule" around the left upper eyelid area, according to the case study. In humnans, D. repens usually manifests as either a wandering worm in the subcutaneous tissue or a granulomatous nodule, although there are reports of pulmonary dirofilariasis with this species.

It gets transmitted via mosquitoes and that's how it gets into humans, but the consequences are far less dire than other parasite infections. The woman, who's name was left out of the report, began to show symptoms just after she traveled through a rural area located near Moscow. Luckily, this roundworm rarely infects humans as their preferred hosts are carnivores like cats, dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes and sea lions.

This specific parasite is not found in the United States, but can be found in Europe. He said that since 1997, there have been more than 4,000 human cases reported in these countries, particularly in Russian Federation and Ukraine.

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There were 3,500 reported cases of this parasite affecting humans in Europe between 1977 and 2016, according to a report published in Parasites & Vectors medical journal in November 2017.

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