Fri Oct 7, 2016, 12:36 PM
wonderwarthog (8,215 posts)
FLESH EATING WORMS return to FLORIDA
Screwworms do exactly what it sounds like screwworms do.
The adults lay eggs in open wounds, and the hatched larvae burrow, corkscrew-like, through flesh. Screwworms ate their way into livestock, dogs, deer, and even humans in the U.S. until they were wiped out in 1982, in one of the most successful national eradication campaigns ever.
This week, however, U.S. officials confirmed that the screwworm is back. Poor deer in a wildlife refuge in the Florida Keys had somehow picked up the parasite, the U.S.’s first local infestation in 30 years. The screwworm “sends shivers down every rancher's spine,” said Florida’s agricultural commissioner Adam Putnam in an unusually vivid official statement. “I've grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence.”
It is disingenuous to simply say that this young girl was in serious pain: to examine her scalp, to shift the strands of her hair and palpate the affected region, physicians had to administer intravenous morphine to bypass her discomfort and suffering. On the right side of her scalp was a “5×5-cm area of swelling with multiple punched-out lesions oozing a foul-smelling, purulent exudate (4).” A computed tomography (CT) scan of her head confirmed the swelling.
The poor thing underwent “a blunt haircut,” every prepubescent teenage girl’s nightmare, and “mobile larvae were identified,” every living person on earth’s nightmare. The larvae were sent to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and were identified as the New World screwworm. The Latin name of this bug is Cochliomyia hominivorax. For those of us rusty on our Latin, “hominivorax” is roughly translated as “eater of man.”
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