Abby Beckley is a young woman from Oregon who discovered a horrible fact – she was infected with eye worms.
How did she find the macabre fact?
Abby lived in Grants Pass, Oregon, at a farm and she was surrounded by horses and cattle, so, in time she developed an adventurous spirit.
During the last summer, she decided to have the adventure of her life, so she went for spending her summer on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska. It was then when she started to suffer.
Her left eye got red and irritated and she also had strong migraines.
After 5 days, the boat returned to the port and she urged for a good mirror to take a good look at her eye. She discovered that something was moving in her left eye’s eyelid and when she pulled it out it was a worm. She urged to the local doctor and to an ophthalmologist but had no luck.
Abby was then convinced by her family and friends to go to the Health and Science University in Portland. The researchers there examined her eyes for quite some time but eventually, they observed eye worms moving on the woman’s eye.
They took samples and sent them to the CDC for a proper investigation.
A rare eye worm species was the culprit
Eye worms infections are very common in cattle, cats, dogs, sheep, pigs, foxes, and wolves. These worms are usually transmitted by flies. However, eye worms infections in humans are very rare as only 11 cases were recorded in North America and only 163 cases in Asia and Europe.
Even more, only two species are involved in humans infections, namely the Californiensis (Thelazia Parasite – it affected 11 people in North America) and the Callipaeda (infected people in Asia and Europe).
Abby Beckley, however, was discovered to be infected with Thelazia Gulosa, an eye worm species that affects only the cattle. The CDC researchers concluded that Abby got infected from the cattle back home and that this case is unique as no other human has ever been infected with these eye worms.