A shocking tale of a 50-year-old woman who relocated from Mexico to Charleston, South Carolina, serves as a stark warning to everyone: be mindful of the water you drink and seek medical help immediately if something seems off.
For three excruciating months, the woman experienced a wriggling sensation when urinating and discovered “worms” (fly larvae) in her urine, as reported by The Sun. The pain intensified, and she also suffered from side pains. Eventually, she sought medical help at a South Carolina hospital, where she was referred to an infectious disease clinic, according to the Australian Doctor Group (ADG).
Upon examination, doctors found fly larvae in her bladder, which she passed into her urine. These larvae were identified as a class of Diptera flies, known to cause a condition called myiasis. The National Library of Medicine describes myiasis as the parasitic invasion of vertebrate tissues or organs by fly larvae (maggots). Myiasis can infest skin, eyes, nasal passages, gastrointestinal passages, and urinary tracts, although urinary myiasis is quite rare.
Urinary myiasis typically occurs when someone drinks water contaminated with fly eggs, usually found in developing countries or among people with compromised immune systems. The patient had diabetes, possibly affecting her immune system, but urinary myiasis remains extremely rare in the United States.
The woman’s recent relocation from Mexico, where myiasis is more common, raises questions about the safety of drinking water in certain regions. This case highlights the importance of the old adage: “Don’t drink the water in Mexico.”
South Carolina doctors, unfamiliar with urinary myiasis, had to consult medical literature for treatment options. They prescribed ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites. After a week, the patient was “worm-free,” confirmed by cystoscopy.
It is baffling that the woman endured the pain and discomfort for three months before seeking medical attention. Some have suggested that her immigration status, or lack thereof, might have influenced her decision to wait, highlighting the potential consequences of delayed medical treatment. In extreme cases, other communicable diseases might spread, posing a significant risk to public health.
This alarming story emphasizes the importance of seeking medical help when faced with unusual symptoms. The risk of introducing diseases uncommon in the United States, as well as the potential for outbreaks, should not be taken lightly. Access to healthcare is a critical aspect of public health, and the ability to see a doctor at the first sign of trouble is something we must appreciate and prioritize.
So, let this serve as a cautionary tale: always pay attention to your body, seek medical assistance when needed, and be cautious of the water you consume, especially when traveling south of the border.