(WTVO) — Scientists fear a parasitic worm found in cattle may be an “emerging zoonotic disease” in humans after a Nebraska woman found several worms in her eye.
According to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the 68-year-old woman reported jogging on a trail in California in March 2018 when she ran into a swarm of flies, which got into her mouth.
A month later, the woman reported an irritation in her eye, and when she flushed it with water, found a transparent “wriggly roundworm” about a half an inch long, according to Live Science.
After finding a second worm, she visited an eye doctor, who removed a third.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the eye worm as Thelazia gulosa, a parasitic worm typically found in cattle.
According to Yahoo! News, the woman continued to feel an eye irritation but was diagnosed with papillary conjunctivitis.
Later, she found a fourth worm, and when it was removed, her conjunctivitis went away.
The woman is the second reported human case of Thelazia gulosa infection; a 26-year-old Oregon woman was infected in 2016.
Scientists say since this is the second case in two years, it “suggest[s] this may represent an emerging zoonotic disease in the US.”
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