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Woman's headaches caused by flesh-eating Peruvian maggots

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   July 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM   |   Comments

July 18 (UPI) -- A woman touring Peru was on her flight home to the UK when her head started to hurt.

Hours later, 27-year-old Rochelle Harris started getting shooting pains in her face. She continued home and went to sleep, assuming it was just a bad headache.

When Harris woke the next morning, her pillow was covered in pus. She was rushed to Royal Derby Hospital, where doctors thought Harris might have an ear infection.

When they looked closer, however, they found a half-inch hole in her ear canal caused by a group of Peruvian maggots. Inside the hole, the maggots were still chewing.

Doctors began to remove the maggots, but their larvae kept getting back in. They tried to flood them with olive oil, but were unsuccessful.

"I just wanted them out of me, and now that I knew what was causing the sensations and sounds it made it all the worse," Harris said.

From there, doctors sedated Harris and took a deeper look, fearing the maggots might eat their way to her brain, where they could cause fatal bleeding or facial paralysis.

There, they found and removed eight maggots.

Harris is not expected to face any long-term problems except for a case of the creepy crawlies. She says she is not worried about that, though.

"I’m no longer as squeamish as I was about bugs -- how can you be when they’ve been inside your head?" Harris said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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