A Chinese woman’s insect bites from a South American tour later turned out to be much more than just itchy lesions after maggots began bursting from her skin.
The 28-year-old backpacker from Shanghai, identified by her last name Gu, recently returned from a trip to South America with her friends. According to Daily Mail, the woman was bitten by a “peanut-sized insect” on her right leg while hiking in a Brazilian rainforest in late March.
The insect, later identified as the human botfly, a parasitic insect, caused three lumps on her leg which constantly gave her an intense itching sensation. Gu, however, did not let the annoying itch distract her from her trip. She went on to complete her itinerary, traveling to Bolivia and other countries in the Amazon.
It was only upon her return home when she discovered that the bites had developed into severely itchy lumps with small openings. Shortly after, the insect’s larvae suddenly burst out from the lesions on the terrified woman’s leg.
Gu’s family immediately brought her to Longhua Hospital to get her leg examined. It was determined that the botfly, who uses other species as the carrier for their eggs, had planted eggs in Gu’s legs.
The larvae of the fly are known to be able to survive an eight-week development period inside its host if the wounds don’t get infected. Infections happen when the larva is killed without having it removed completely.
In the hospital, doctors discovered two more larvae buried deep under her skin. After the maggots had been surgically removed, Gu was treated with antibiotics to avoid infection.