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WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Shifting lump on woman's face actually a worm: GRAPHIC


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 21, 2018, 1:21 PM - Hey, so this happened -- or, more accurately, happens -- because according to a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, this may sound exceptional but it isn't all that uncommon. Great.

A 32-year-old Russian woman went to an ophthalmologist, complaining of lumps on her face that had been there for about two weeks.

But these weren't your run-of-the-mill lumps. These lumps were on the move.

First, they were underneath her left eye. Then they were above it. A week and a half later, they were in her upper lip.

The woman says the lumps weren't painful, but they sometimes left a burning or itching sensation.

Also: did we mention the lumps were moving around her face? Because they were moving around her face.

Further inspection revealed they were caused by a parasitic worm, which she likely picked up from a mosquito bite while visiting a rural site outside of Moscow.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS DEPICT A MOVING LUMP THAT WAS CAUSED BY A PARASITIC WORM

A series of photos showing the parasitic's worm nightmare-inducing journey. Source: New England Journal of Medicine

She fully recovered once it was removed.

The worm that infected her – Dirofilaria repens – is related to the "heartworm" species found in dogs. It isn't able to reproduce in humans, so the worms can't spread between people.

A 2015 study that appeared in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases located 1,272 cases of infection in Russia and Belarus between January 1997 and June 2013.

While the worm can be contracted abroad, there are no records of people developing a Dirofilaria repens infection in Canada.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Let's have a round of applause for Weather Network reporter Cheryl Santa Maria who, upon being assigned this story, fought every instinct to run from her desk in terror and remained at her post to carry out her duties.

VIDEO: TOXIC CATERPILLARS ARE INVADING LONDON



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