A British woman returned from her long awaited Peruvian vacation, bringing not just memories but flesh-eating maggots in her head as well
Rochelle Harris, a 27-year-old woman from Derby, UK, was thrilled to be visiting Peru. But on flight back from her trip of a lifetime she developed headaches and excruciating pain down one side of her face. She also started hearing strange scratching noises in her head.
The next morning fluid leaked from her ear, soaking her pillow. Concerned Rochelle went to doctor which thought she could have had a minor ear infection so she was referred to the ear nose and throat team for further examination.
To Harris’ surprise doctors at first refused to say what’s wrong with her. The patient and her family begged to be told the cause. “You've got maggots in your ear” was the answer.
The horrified woman burst into tears at the revelation. "I was very scared - I wondered if they were in my brain. I thought to myself 'This could be very, very serious'," she said.
Fortunately for Ms. Harris, a brain scan showed no damage to her ear drum, blood vessels, or facial nerve. But the maggots had chewed a 12mm hole into her ear canal. A brain scan showed that the maggots had chewed a 12mm hole in her ear canal.
At first the doctors tried to drown the maggots by flooding the patient’s ear canal with olive oil but it had no effect. Then the medics resorted to surgery and the medics and found a "writhing mass of maggots" within her ear. Total of eight maggots were removed from the woman’s head.
A test discovered it was a New World Army Screw Worm Fly that had laid the eggs in Ms. Harris’s ear. The woman recalled walking through a swarm of flies at one point during her holiday. One of them got into her ear but Rochelle shooed it away and thought nothing more about it.
Luckily, Ms. Harris hasn't suffered any long-term consequences. She even makes jokes about her strange souvenirs from Peru: "I'm not so squeamish around those kinds of bugs now. How can I be? They've been in my ear!" she says.