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Flesh eating maggots found in woman's ear after South American vacation

By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   July 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM   |   Comments

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July 17 (UPI) -- A British woman reportedly burst into tears when she found out she had flesh-eating maggots living in her ear after she came back from a trip to Peru.

Rochelle Harris, 27, said she experienced intense headaches upon arriving back at the U.K. from her trip to South America. She said she began experiencing piercing pain on one side of her face and hearing strange scratching sounds in her head.

After finding her pillow soaked in fluid one morning she decided to go to the doctor to have the situation checked out. After being referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist Harris found out the pain and noises came from maggots that were living inside her ear.

"You've got maggots in your ear," the ENT specialist told her adding that they had carved a half-inch hole in her ear canal.

Harris said she "bust into tears instantly" upon hearing the words.

An emergency brain scan showed there was no damage to her ear drum, blood vessels or facial nerves.

Medics proceeded to attempt to eliminate the maggots. Doctor first tried to drown the larva by flooding the canal with olive oil, a tactic that proved completely useless as all of the maggots survived. Eventually they were able to remove two maggots manually. However, further examination showed there were eight more bugs inside Harris' ear.

After being sent to a laboratory for analysis it was discovered that a New World screwworm fly that had gotten inside Harris's ear while she was on vacation had laid eggs. She said that once she got it out of her ear she didn't think anything would happen.

Harris is not expected to suffer any long term consequences and her story will be featured on a new Discovery Channel documentary called "Bugs, Bites and Parasites."

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