But surprisingly, the Russian woman's case is not one in a million, as cases of people getting infected by parasitic worms are becoming increasingly common in the recent times.
The bump was first noticed underneath her left eye, before it moved above it. A selfie taken five days later showed that the bulge had transferred to above her left eye, and 10 days after that, the lump was on her upper lip.
The worm can't actually reach maturity inside the human body, and therefore can't reproduce.
Turns out, the moving bump was a parasite known as a Dirofilaria repens, a type of long, thin parasitic roundworm that enters its hosts through mosquito bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Things changed when that small lump spent the next two weeks navigating the woman's face. Her unusual lump became a case study in The New England Journal of Medicine by two leading professors from Russian Federation and Spain-Migrating Dirofilaria repens. The Russian woman said she had recently traveled to a rural area outside Moscow and was frequently bitten by mosquitoes, according to the new report (in the New England Journal of Medicine)...
Dr. Vladimir Kartashev, a professor of medicine at Rostov State Medical University who treated the 32-year-old woman, published a separate study on dirofilariasis, the name given to the infection, in 2015. An ophthalmologist observed what was called a "superficial moving oblong nodule at the left upper eyelid", and upon further investigation, doctors made a troubling discovery.
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Usually, the physical damage is minimal and pulling the worm out does the trick.
But humans can become accidental hosts of the thread-like worm - meaning the worm doesn't intend to infect a human. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that D. repens are not found in the U.S., but the country does harbor relatives D. immitis, which cause heartworm disease in dogs, and D. tenuis, which affect raccoons.
This specific parasite is not found in the U.S., but can be found in Europe.
It is not the first case like this reported in Europe. The larvae then make their way into the mosquito's mouth parts and, Nolan said, when the mosquito bites an animal - or a human - they crawl quickly into the bite site.