Ick! Oregon Woman Is First-Ever Case of Human ‘Eye Worm’

News Picture: Ick! Oregon Woman Is First-Ever Case of Human 'Eye Worm'By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Imagine going to the mirror and finding a small translucent worm crawling across the surface of your eye.

The first of many.

That’s what happened to an avid 26-year-old outdoorswoman from Oregon, who recently became the first human ever infected by a type of eye worm previously seen only in cattle.

For days, the woman’s left eye felt irritated. It felt like there was a hair or something in her eye.

After about a week, she reached up and pulled a small worm off of her eye, said Richard Bradbury, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher and lead author of a case report on the event.

The woman went to a local doctor, who pulled two more worms from her eye. The next day she proceeded to an optometrist, who found another three worms.

“A total of 14 worms were removed from her left eye over 20 days,” said Bradbury, team lead of the Parasitology Reference Diagnostic Laboratory at the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria. “They weren’t able to remove them all at once. They had to remove them as they became present and visible.”

All the worms were less than half an inch long. Doctors either tweezed them out or flushed them out of the eye, the researchers reported.

The worm, Thelazia gulosa, causes eye irritation but usually no permanent damage, Bradbury said. It simply crawls over the eye and under the eyelid, feeding on your tears.

“It’s just really gross and very psychologically disturbing to see multiple small worms crawling across the surface of your eye,” Bradbury said.

Other worms from the Thelazia family have been found on human eyes before, but this is the first time this specific worm has infested a person, Bradbury said.

“This is the first report in 20 years of this occurring in the United States, and that’s about how regularly this happens,” he said. “It’s a very rare situation.”

The researchers suspect the woman became infected with the eye worms while horseback riding in Gold Beach, Ore., a cattle farming region.

The worms are transmitted by face flies, which carry the larvae in their mouth parts, said Dr. Audrey Schuetz, an associate professor of pathology with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“In general, flies are attracted to the moisture and salt in our tears, said Schuetz, who wasn’t involved with the study. “The larvae are introduced into the fleshy part of our eyes when the fly is feeding on our tear film, the moist part around our eyes.”

Most people avoid contracting eye worms because they wave away flies that land on their face, Bradbury said. In this instance, the woman might have been too distracted while riding horseback to free a hand and shoo the fly off.

In the end, the worms were removed from the woman’s eye without any lasting damage.

Several of the worms were sent to the CDC for analysis. It took about a week of investigation — including reference to papers published in German back in 1928 — to specifically identify them as Thelazia gulosa cattle eye worms, Bradbury said.

Thelazia eye worms in general are very rare. Only 160 cases — linked to species of Thelazia other than the one discovered in Oregon — have been reported in Europe and Asia, where the worms are more common, Bradbury said.

“There’s only ever been in the history of the published literature 11 cases of [any Thelazia infection] in America, so it’s very rare and unusual,” Bradbury said.

It is possible but generally unlikely for these worms to cause scarring of the cornea and even blindness if they saunter off the whites of an eye and into your field of vision, Bradbury and Schuetz said.

Folks worried about contracting eye worms can wear a hat with a net attached to protect their faces from flies, Schuetz said.

The study was published Feb. 12 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine.

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Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Richard Bradbury, Ph.D., team lead, Parasitology Reference Diagnostic Laboratory, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Audrey Schuetz, M.D., microbiologist and associate professor, pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Feb. 12, 2018, American Journal of Tropical Medicine

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      Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move

      News Picture: Shedding Pounds <i>Before</i> Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart MoveBy Serena Gordon
      HealthDay Reporter

      Latest Diet & Weight Management News

      WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) — By the time you’ve decided to have weight-loss surgery, you’ve probably given up on dieting altogether.

      But a new study suggests that if you can drop some weight in the month before your procedure, you might have a smoother surgery and recovery — and you could ultimately lose more weight.

      Researchers asked people scheduled for weight-loss procedures to go on a low-calorie diet for a month before surgery. The diet consisted of about 1,200 calories daily from two meal replacement shakes and one healthy meal.

      People who lost 8 percent or more of their excess body weight reduced the duration of their surgery, as well as the length of their hospital stay. And a year later, they lost almost 10 pounds more than those who hadn’t succeeded at pre-surgery weight loss.

      “These findings suggest that surgeons and clinical care teams should encourage healthy eating and exercise,” said study author Deborah Hutcheon, a clinical nutrition specialist at Greenville Health Systems in South Carolina.

      But Hutcheon was quick to emphasize that this eating plan was recommended, not mandated. And the study authors don’t think this diet should be used as a requirement to gain insurance coverage.

      Dr. Mitchell Roslin, director of the bariatric surgery program at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., expressed the same concern.

      “Sometimes results from studies like this are used in a negative way, such as for rationing care. Insurers might argue that good weight losers before the surgery don’t need the surgery,” said Roslin, who wasn’t involved with the study.

      Hutcheon agreed that a pre-surgery diet shouldn’t be the basis for coverage or approval for surgery. She pointed out that some participants didn’t meet the 8 percent weight-loss goal set by the study before their surgery, and they still did quite well.

      The study included 355 people scheduled to undergo one of two weight-loss procedures. One hundred sixty-seven people were going to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy (a procedure that removes most of the stomach) and 188 were going to have gastric bypass.

      All agreed to go on the low-calorie diet for four weeks preceding the surgery. While 224 people lost 8 percent or more of their excess weight, 131 did not.

      Those who were successful at weight loss before surgery had surgeries that averaged eight minutes less time, and were able to get out of the hospital about one-quarter of a day earlier.

      At three months after surgery, those who lost a significant portion of weight prior to surgery averaged a 42-pound weight loss, compared to 36 pounds for those not in the 8 percent group. At a year, the 8 percent or more group lost 65 pounds, while the other group lost less than 56 pounds.

      How does losing weight ahead of time aid in weight-loss success?

      Hutcheon said the program helped “patients establish healthy eating habits, establish portion control and learn what a healthy meal looks like.”

      She added that weight loss from the liver and abdominal cavity helps to improve surgical access, which may be why surgical times and recovery periods went down.

      The study was published online recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

      MedicalNews
      Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

      SOURCES: Deborah Hutcheon, D.C.N., R.D., L.D., clinical nutrition specialist, Greenville Health Systems, South Carolina; Mitchell Roslin, M.D., director, bariatric surgery program, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Feb. 2, 2018, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, online

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          Health Tip: Sleep’s Effects on Diabetes

          (HealthDay News) — Lack of sleep is an often overlooked risk factor for type 2 diabetes, the National Sleep Foundation says.

          Chronic sleep deprivation leads to less insulin production and increased production of stress hormones, the foundation says. Over time, too much glucose stays in the bloodstream and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

          Getting insufficient sleep can also increase your appetite and cause you to crave more sugary foods. And if you gain weight and get poor sleep, you are more likely to skip exercise, increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes even more.

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