HomePOPULARWoman Discovers Rare Eye Parasite, Linked to Contaminated Crocodile Meat

Woman Discovers Rare Eye Parasite, Linked to Contaminated Crocodile Meat

In a medical first, doctors discovered a rare parasite living in a woman’s eye for two years, and the reason behind this extreme medical condition is potentially contaminated crocodile meat, according to the case report published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The 28-year-old woman from Basankusu, Congo, presented with a growing mass in her left eye. Remarkably, she experienced no symptoms besides the visible lump. Upon examination, doctors found a mobile mass under the conjunctiva, the clear outer layer of the eye. Surgical removal revealed a pale, C-shaped larva measuring about 0.4 inches (10 millimeters), according to the study report.

Analysis identified the unwelcome guest as Armillifer grandis, a parasite known to infect humans in Africa. These parasites typically rely on snakes as their primary hosts, with rodents acting as intermediate hosts. Humans usually become infected by accidentally ingesting eggs from contaminated food or water or through close contact with infected snakes. Consuming undercooked snake meat is another documented route.

The woman denied ever handling snakes, leaving the doctors to suspect crocodile meat as the source. The doctors observed that the woman regularly ate crocodile meat. Although there have been no previous cases of Armillifer grandis infection reported in people who consume crocodile meat, it is established that crocodiles can carry pentastomids. Consequently, it is conceivable that the infection could have occurred by ingesting crocodile meat containing parasite eggs. This case represents a potential new transmission pathway for Armillifer grandis.

Furthermore, the doctors proposed another possible scenario where the contaminated meat could have come from market stalls selling snake meat as well, which could have led to cross-contamination.

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