Doctors in India removed 80 maggots from a 4-year-old girl's ear after she complained of an earache.
Radhika Mandloi, whose family lives central India, was suffering extreme pain and itching in her left ear. The Daily Mail reports that her parents initially dismissed her discomfort, but when she began crying endlessly they took her to a nearby hospital.
Inside her ear doctors found a blow fly which had laid eggs in her ear. If she had been left untreated any longer the insects could have started eating her brain, ultimately killing her.
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“I was very shocked to see that many eggs,” Dr. Raj Kumar Mundra told the Daily Mail, adding that “it’s evident this family lives in unhygienic conditions which has seen the young girl suffer as a consequence. It’s a very sad state of affairs.”
According to Mundra, there have been previous cases where only a few were discovered, but he'd never seen so many.
The girl had two surgeries to remove the larva. Both operations involved killing the maggots while they were still in her head, and then removing them.
According to Orkin, blow flies are usually metallic in appearance, with feathery hairs. They are attracted to decaying meat and are generally the first organisms to come into contact with dead animals.
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Mandloi’s bone and skin were damaged by the larva, which doctors believe were in her ear for longer than a week.
“It’s evident [the] problem had been growing for a long time but her parents had been negligent. We’ll look into further treatment in time," Mundra said. "Fortunately, no worms were found in the brain but if she had been left untreated for another week, the worms could have entered the brain and this could have been life threatening. There is a paper-thin bone between the brain and the ears which the worms can easily enter. These worms could easily eat a human brain if they get inside.”