Woman's selfies capture moving lump on face: a parasite

A Lump Moving Across a Woman's Face Was a Parasitic Worm Crawling Under Her Skin

The disturbing discovery is made worse by the fact that the woman monitored the lump as it moved to different spots on her face.

The woman experienced some itching and burning and went to an ophthalmologist to get the lump checked out, according to a case study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The first hint that something was awry was a small lump under her left eye. Next, the lump migrated to the left side of her upper lip, causing her to have lopsided swelling in that area.

A 32-year-old patient took selfies of a lump that shifted around her face. Her unusual lump became a case study in The New England Journal of Medicine by two leading professors from Russian Federation and Spain-Migrating Dirofilaria repens.

The freakish condition that the 32-year-old Russian woman suffered from eventually ended up being a case study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In humans, the parasitic infection usually shows up as lumps beneath the skin, and sometimes, the lumps - or rather, the worms - move around. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dirofilaria repens is a type of long, thin parasitic roundworm that enters through mosquito bites.

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First, it appeared as a tiny blemish under the eye.

The 32-year-old then went to see an eye doctor who noticed the lump was moving around the upper left eyelid, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The treatment for a Dirofilaria repens infection is actually quite simple, as the worm will simply have to be surgically removed. In humnans, D. repens usually manifests as either a wandering worm in the subcutaneous tissue or a granulomatous nodule, although there are reports of pulmonary dirofilariasis with this species. The thread-like worm naturally infects animals such as dogs, cats, foxes, and other wild mammals, but humans may become accidental hosts.

Dirofilaria repens is a filarial nematode that affects dogs and other carnivores.

It is unclear where the woman picked up the worm, but she did report having been in a town outside of Moscow, where she was frequently bitten by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that tend to inject these parasites through their bites are generally found in certain regions of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

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