What Is Myiasis?

By james
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Flies lay eggs that, when they hatch, produce a larvae or maggot. You may be familiar with these bugs or have seen them in dead or decaying carcasses. They can also infect living hosts. In fact, certain species of flies cannot get enough protein for proper development from dead tissue and always choose to lay on a live animal. When this occurs in the skin of a vertebrate, it is called myiasis.

Maggots aren’t all bad. The fact that some species only feed on dead or decaying tissue has been exploited for medical purposes. In a treatment known as maggot debridement therapy, larvae are applied to deep wounds as a painless option for cleaning difficult sores and lesions. However, infection by other fly species can cause medical issues.

1. What Is Myiasis in Humans?

Although the idea is off-putting, myiasis does occur in humans. Certain populations, like elderly, bed-bound individuals and those with open sores, are more likely to become infected.

Myiasis occurs worldwide, but it is much more common in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas and Africa and the Americas than in most other areas of the world. The most common flies infecting humans are the human botfly (Dermatobia hominis), the New World and Old World screwworms (Cochliomyia hominovorax and Chrysomya bezziana, respectively) and the tumbu fly (Cordylobia anthropophaga).


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