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BOTFLY EMAIL STORIES RECEIVED BETWEEN 2001 AND 2005
MORE STORIES ON ANOTHER PAGE (SEE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE).


Here is a song about botfly larva, the title is 
"A VERY UNLIKELY OCCURRENCE"
Just click on the title above or in the below email sent to me April 26, 2004 from Damien Di Fede.
Be sure to follow along with the lyrics (that are provided below) while listening to the song.
Thanks Heather and Damien!

Hi,
I was led to this page: http://www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/botfly.html the other day by www.memepool.com
I was both fascinated and disgusted by the stories about bot flies and related what I was reading to my girlfriend, Heather,  who was also grossed out.  We participate in an online music community called Songfight! (www.songfight.org) and had decided to write a song for the upcoming fight (April 27 - May 4).  After reading about bot flies, the title "A Very Unlikely Occurrence" seemed to hold the most promise and Heather decided to write lyrics about bot flies.  And so, this song was born:  http://www.future-boy.net/music/unlikely.mp3
Here are the lyrics in case you can't understand the words:
 
We are bot fly larvae!
We like our dinners fresh!
We are bot fly larvae!
Feeding on your flesh!

We burrow in your epidermis
To warble as we please
A very unlikely occurrence
Unless traveling in Belize
 
Mosquitoes give us transference
We're carried on their knees
Distance is no deterrence
We find our prey with ease

Cuz we are bot fly larvae!
We like our dinners fresh!
We are bot fly larvae!
Feeding on your flesh!

We'll dig into your scrota
To grow our metanota
Someday we'll pop right out
And then you'll know what that oozing bump was all about!

We are bot fly larvae!
We like our dinners fresh!
We are bot fly larvae!
Feeding on your flesh!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and maybe you can find some other bot fly enthusiasts with which to share it.
Cheers,
Damien Di Fede

Below is the correspondence with Leon Higley. His site on Bug of the Week was the first Mark & I came upon on the internet regarding botfly's.
At 05:36 PM 4/11/2001 -0500, you wrote:

Dr. Higley,
We had a very bad....interesting experience with botflys. Thanks to your website we were able to find out more information on them. I have created a website telling about the experience. On the our site is the address of your site & a photo from your page. I am hoping after you look at it that you will be please & allow it to stay on our site. If not please let me know & I will remove it. You can see this page by going to www.vexman.com & clicking on botfly story. It's very ironic that both men that were bitten by a botfly happen to be named Mark!
Hope to hear from you in regards to our botfly story.
Thanks,
Brenda Johnstone

Brenda-

I seem to get lots of bot fly stories since I posted the website, but your story certainly trumps all that I've heard before. The photo actually belongs to Jim Kalisch, a technologist in our department, but I'm sure Jim will have no objection to your use of the photo (I'll check with him this afternoon). I'm surprised by the frequency with which infestations are misdiagnosed. The photos you have show a fully developed (third stage) larva; those I've seen were only second stage. If there is any chance we could get copies of these photos, I'd like to post them on our site (I'm supposed to do a large web site on bot flies, but I don't suppose that will get started until this summer) and they would be great for teaching. Perhaps I need to contact Dr. Higgs about this, so if you have his address (e-mail or otherwise) I'd appreciate it. I have a variety of stories that people have supplied on torsalo infestations, but Mark's scrotal infestation certainly is unique. Mark might want to know that most people seem to start freaking out with second stage larval feeding, so I'm not surprised he had such a miserable time with third stage larvae. I hope he is doing better now, and I appreciate your/his willingness to share his experience.

-Leon Higley


7/17/01

We too visited Arenal in CR this June. Upon return, my 8 year old
daughter kept complaining about shooting pains periodically coming from
two "mosquito bites" on her head. The pediatrician confidently diagnosed
it as impetigo and put her on anti-biotics. After 10 days and no results
- stronger AB's. After 4 days and no results - off to the dermatologist.
Dr. Skin can't figure it out so she decides to do a biopsy. Much to her
surprise - it's a maggot!. Congratulations! you have given birth to twin
5 week old botfly larvae! The dermatologists office thought this was the
coolest thing since alligator shoes. Found your story on the net after
scraping Mom up off the floor. Thanks for sharing your experience! It
does make for good gross-out story telling...

Bryan Edwards
Mandeville, Louisiana


10/5/01

Wow, that's quite a story...I must say, I never thought I would hear one
better than mine, but you win. Congratulations :) I just feel compelled to
share my story with you because, if anyone else, you'll be able to sympathize.

I went to Belize this summer with my father for a scuba trip. We dove every
day except for one : the last day, where we went and hiked through the
Mayan jungle and then went cave tubing. While in the jungle, I happened to
get a couple of mosquito bites on my leg, which I thought nothing of. Two
weeks after arriving back home, they were still there, itchy and painful as
ever, so I went to the doctor. I had previously heard something about
botflies, but didn't really think it was possible. So when I went in to see
the doctor, he told me it was just an infected mosquito bite, nothing more.
After I told him what I knew about botflies (although I didn't know the
name at the time), he decided that they would lance the largest one and
drain it (because, according to him, I was overreacting). No more than two
minutes after they had opened the bite, they pulled out a little wriggling
botfly. Now, of course, they had no idea what it was, so both the doctor
and the physicians assistant flipped out and called the CDC....so then they
opened the second bite, but didn't find anything. After all that, they
glued my leg back together and gave me some medicine.

A month later, the second bite they had opened wasn't healing at all (the
first one healed and there's barely a scar), so I went back to the doctor.
They opened it up again, this time digging all the way down to the muscle,
and still didn't find anything. They sewed my leg up again, gave me more
drugs, and sent me on my way. A week later, I came back to have my stitches
removed, and it still wasn't healed, so he began talking about simply
removing all of the tissue that next week. Two days after that appointment,
I was looking at the wound and it appeared to be moving! I thought I was
going crazy, and I showed it to a lady at work who used to be a nurse. She
told me it was probably just pus trying to work its way out, so I shouldn't
worry. Later that day, I would push on it a bit and this big long white
thing would come out of it.

Now, by this time, I was getting pretty sick of having bugs in my leg, so I
called the doctor immediately and told him what was up....he made me come
in that afternoon. I showed him the thing and he said "Its a maggot, we
have to get that out of there". So they pulled out this 1.5 inch botfly
maggot, and sent me home. The very next day, I bent down to pull off my
Band-Aid, when another maggot fell off on my hand. I called my neighbor, who
is a plastic surgeon, and he came over to look at it. After inspecting it,
he decided we needed to go to the emergency room and take out all of the
tissue in the area. So now, because of a great trip to Belize, I'm left
with 2 very purple scars on my leg :) I'm just glad to know that I'm not
the only freak this happens to!
Lindsay


11/29/01

I want to thank you for placing your account with the bot fly
infestation on the internet.  My husband and I traveled in late
September-early October to Belize.  Not too long after our return, I
noticed a lump on the top of his head and asked him if he had hit his
head or something.  He teased me for my violent ways, said it was
probably a pulled hair, and said it would go away.  Well, it didn't
and it was sore and oozing fluid.  Like any good wife, I demanded
that he see a doctor before I became a widow (I was irrationally
thinking it was some form of cancer at that point).  The first doctor
thinks nothing of it, gives him some antibiotic ointment and pills
and sends him on his way.  When that doesn't change anything in 3
days, I hit the roof and told him he had to get a second opinion or
resolve himself to sleeping on the couch.  He calls the other doctor
back who suggests he see a surgeon to see if it is something that
needs to be removed.

Imagine the surprise when the doctor's local surgery REMOVES A WHOLE
OBJECT from his head.  The doctor was so surprised he almost dropped
the thing.  It was nothing he had ever seen and, after cutting it
open to look inside, he sends it off to a lab. 

Imagine OUR surprise when the doctor calls today saying it was some
kind of fly infestation.  The ONLY reason we know it's a bot fly
larvae is because we typed in "fly lays egg under skin" into the
Google search engine.  Warbles?  Bot flies?! Damn bot fly pictures
look just like the one that came from his head.

My husband has called the doctor back with the identifying
information.  Thanks for sharing your story and listening to mine!
Tammi


11/29/01

Mine got me in Belize. Not sure where exactly. Probably hiking in Blue
Hole National Park. I still think it is unfair that while my wife seemed
to be a mosquito-magnet, I was the one who got the bot fly!

I now were a hat to cover the shaved patch in the top of my head. After
reading your account, I suppose I should be thankful that I was bitten
where I was, though.

Hope Mark is recovering satisfactorily.
--
D. Edward Farrar
Membership Administrator


BY FAR MY MOST FAVORITE WRITTEN STORY

11/29/01

...yes, it's true...I wasn't going to tell everyone
but rumors have been spreading here in San Diego, so I
thought I'd better let everyone know officially.  I
understand that most of you know me as a master of
exaggeration, and some may say 'King of bullshit'; but
what I am about to say, my friends, is by NO MEANS a
prank or stretch of the imagination - you better be
sitting down...(...Lord knows I'm not...) ...Let me
explain.....


(...soft jungle drumbeat please...) ...as most of you
know, I've recently returned from the jungles of
Central America - a quite lengthy trip at that...a
beautiful land with cascading waterfalls, limestone
caves that extend 20-30 miles, human sacrifice pits,
monkeys swinging from the lush green canopies above,
colorful Parrots and Toucans more numerous than
silicone breasts on a Baywatch episode...wild animals
breaking the silence of the night with spine tingling
howls - and ravenous mosquitoes the size of
hummingbirds...

Upon my return from another, fortunately still well
hidden, paradise - I began to feel a little 'out of
balance.' I noticed I was eating alot more, sleeping
very little with frequent nocturnal bathroom breaks.
One afternoon, after lunch at a McDonalds; I was hence
to find I've subconsciously left the pickles on my
burger where for 30 years previous to that - I would
have not...

This is when I became concerned. I made an appointment
at the well known and World respected Kaiser Hospital
in Clairemont Mesa (a hospital usually reserved only
for royalty and such.) Upon a brief introduction to my
doctor, I soon found myself dis-robed in front of
her...(I didn't even have to buy her a drink) She gave
a quick examination, and while behind me she made a
few strange vocal expressions and then scurried out
the door to consult a medical book. Her return was not
quick, and her once sweet smiling face was now turned
to an unusual grimace that would resemble maybe
someone who had just had their knuckles crushed while
simultaneously swallowing a Tabasco filled, premature
lemon...

She asked me to describe my recent past in detail -
and to expand on any events which I had pondered as
peculiar...
Why then, my thoughts became light again, as I drifted
off to recant the tales of the rainforest and warm
affectionate Tapirs...
I was with a puzzled look upon my face as she
interrupted and proceeded to finish my story for
me...she continued that while asleep in an open jungle
cabana near the Macal River I must have been
intimately visited by a young native woman; yes, young
she was indeed, but with large eyes and a beautiful
name...those who know her well call her
Hominis....Dermatobia Hominis that is...an evil bitch
of a creature that lays eggs to be hatched only upon
warm blooded hosts while they sleep in peace...and one
of those eggs had hatched and a bouncing baby larvae
has burrowed into my upper leg (lower buttock) region.
Given time, it will then (after eating copious amounts
of flesh) will crawl out and undergo
metamorphossisesess (sp?) to a fly and then try to
find a mate for its short airborne life....It is
presently enjoying a rather pleasant stay; under the
hospitals orders that they don't want to kill it
inside of me, they can't remove it surgically until it
gets larger, and they want me to provide a more mature
specimen for study (I am one of now 4 in the last 10
years in San Diego to have one of these horrendous
afflictions.

I used to be of the Anti-Abortion stance....but now
considering actually being faced with the situation -
I must admit, I have leaned a little more to the
Pro-Choice side...and, have recently scoffed at the
doctor's orders, and taken it upon myself to do a home
abortion technique. This was a very tough and
emotional decision for me; my friends Nancy and Alex
have begged for me to keep it - and have even named
him 'Edgar' they say I have other options, and I'm
just taking the easy way out....that's there's two
lives I need to think about now...and then there's the
heavy flak from the religious community as well...
but alas, I have decided...(I actually have received
native remedy advice from one of the local Taxi
Drivers who is Guatemalan but grew up in the vast
metropolis of Belmopan, the Belizean Capital -
population of 7,000 and a plethora of jungle medicine
expertise...)

Interesting side-note: Recently, I almost had a bad
car accident on my way to go skiing. At about 78 mph,
I felt the worst stabbing pain I have ever had in my
life. My legs went numb, my eyes went shut, and I
started swerving all over Interstate 215 Northbound.
However, while snowboarding, I was having a lovely
chat on the slopes. Since it was warm, I was not
wearing very thick pants. Throughout this 10 minute or
so conversation, by butt became frozen to the ski
slope - and after breaking free I noticed that I
didn't feel Edgar anymore. And for the next two nights
I slept peacefully without the usual nightmares of
'Alien' or 'The Fly.'  But about three days later, he
came back and is now madder than hell...


I encourage all who have read this lamentable tragedy
to do further research by internet, look for:
Dermatobia Hominis, Bot Fly, or Human Bot-fly. Also,
for a medical analysis consult
"http://bugs.uah.ualberta.ca/webbug/parasite/botfly.htm"

So now, that I got a wild bug up my ass; ...in
closing...I would like to present a little something I
came up with to describe my last 4 weeks....


"Edgar"
There once was a young man named John
Who couldn't stay land-locked too long
so he bought him a ticket
to the jungle and thicket
and nude dancing to sweet island song

But was bit in the ass
by an insect so crass
that it injects a worm
to wiggle and squirm
and form an infectious mass

Quick return to the states
for the verdict that awaits
from the doctor and nurse
to cure this damn curse
before the *%##@$& thing mates


But Alex and Nancy then said
Dear John, there's nothing to dread
Nancy knitted a quilt
for the cradle Alex built
to become Edgar's nursery bed


So Edgar's his name
but my decision still the same
and the next time I'm plastered
I'll kill this damn bastard
and hold not one ounce of shame

John Chupp

After responding to his story & here is his reply.

Brenda,
Thank you for responding...I found your website story
a week ago while researching this demon. I thought it
would be nice share the fact that there are others
with  similar experiences...and I thoroughly enjoyed
those writings!!!!

I had him removed late last night at the Emergency
Room - it was absolutely killing me!!! I was going
crazy...
now he's in a test tube in my kitchen..

good luck to you and yours!!!

John; Proud Father


5/16/02

Thank you for your very witty and useful website on Mark's Human Botfly
Infestation Story.

For the last six weeks, after a trip to Belize etc, I have had a Botfly larva
in my scalp at the back of my head    I couldn't see it but I could feel it, as
no doubt you can imagine!             I went through four doctors in as many
weeks (and lots of antibiotics and tests) before eventually meeting one who
recognized the problem instantly.

Mark's story was a great source of information and inspiration during the last
fortnight , once I knew what to look for.     It's always reassuring to know
that someone else has survived a much more grueling ordeal!

Botty was removed surgically today.  He didn't want to leave and hung on
grimly  until the resourceful doc gave him a mouthful of saline solution
through a syringe.

With best wishes,

Robbie Graham


7/19/02

Upon doing some research on human botfly, I came across your website.  We live on the Big Island of Hawaii and my husband was "hit" with botfly in his left eye.  He went to the ER and they pulled out 16 larvae from his eye.  That was 2 weeks ago.  Now he is having severe nasal and sinus problems.  The ER doctor told us that sometimes, although rare, the larvae can get into the nasal passages and grow.  We suspect that this is the problem.  However, after reading your story, we are having similar things happen to us as far as the doctors not believing us.  It is quite frustrating.  I thought you'd be interested to know that, according to our ER doctor, the "botfly" is only found on the Big Island in the Western World.  Lucky us!

Denise Smith Swanhart


8/13/02

My wife and I honeymooned in Punta Islita the first week of April, of this
year. I only recently had the "worm" removed and discovered what it was.
Fortunately for me it was digging only in my arm. None of the Dr's I saw had
a clue what was infecting my arm and my wife, all along said ..."it's a
worm...it's a worm." She even named it Herman the Worm, all this before we
actually knew it was a worm!
What a story I will have for a long time!! It was my 15 minutes of fame at
the hospital.
Regards,
John


10/9/02

Icthamol- aka as pine tar also works great. Apply , bandage and remove takes about 2 days. I went to CR late August2002 , 4 weeks later I still had bites that looked worse. I used this to draw it out, I thought maybe a stinger was left inside but, to my surprise it was 2 larvae's. Took to the doctor and he classified as a botfly.

Please pass this on, I hate to see people getting cut open for nothing the icthamol works great.

Marie Guarino

Sunrise, Fl


Dear Mark and Brenda,

Rick and I want to thank you for your Botfly story.  We returned from Belize November 16.  While in Belize, we had hiked in the jungle on two separate occasions.   While I had used insect repellent in my hair and scalp, Rick did not.

About a week after we returned from Belize to Columbus, Ohio, Rick noticed bumps in his scalp that later began to itch.  Then they started seeping. Then came the stabbing pain.  By the time we thought he should do something about it, it was Thanksgiving weekend and impossible to see a doctor.  So we called a pharmacist friend who said we should alternate cortisone cream
with antibiotic cream.  I also used a "bite stick" with ammonia in it on the bites."  No improvement.  On Monday, December 2, Rick went to his doctor, who diagnosed a bacterial skin infection, prescribing oral and topical antibiotics. By December 6 there was no improvement, and the pain would come at anytime with not warning and be excruciating.  That evening, as Rick sat at the computer, blood began running down his head and side of his face from one of the holes/bites/what ever they were.
I couldn't stand it any longer.  I started searching on the internet.  I used terms like "bleeding scalp" and found lots about head wounds.  The next day I was going to go Christmas shopping, but I couldn't stand to see Rick in pain and with no improvement, so more internet searching supplanted the shopping (I made up for it by shopping on the web later).  At the Center
for Disease Control site, I started looking at different types of insects,
came across the botfly and performed another search:  "bacterial skin infection botfly Belize" and voila! your botfly article came up.  I read it, printed it out (in full color) and took the papers in to Rick.  "You're not going
to like this," I said. First we tried meat taped onto his head (shaved portions of his head
first) using painters tape and covered by a hat.  When we removed the meat, we could find small bore holes in the meat but no larva.  (It was great
calling him "meathead" all weekend.)  Then we moved on to Elmer's school glue. Seemed those little buggers could "eat" through the dried glue and breathe all the same.

By Monday December 9, Rick had faxed your article to his doctor, who said to try superglue.  This did the trick.  We had been afraid to kill the suckers while still imbedded in the skin.  Seems that superglue works because it dries so fast, and you can glob it on.  When we peeled back the superglue, part of the larva was sticking out of the skin (must have been trying to
get air and got caught).  The dead larva could be pulled out by the part sticking out (using a Kleenex when grasping it), but the surest way to get them out was to squeeze them out (a couple of times they shot 2 feet into the air which meant I jumped about 2 feet myself.)  One time, when one was pulled out, only half of it came out, with the remainder having to be squeezed out.  I got all out but one, covered it with antibacterial cream and watched it with a light and magnifying glass.  Sure enough, the cream was showing a bubble.  These babies definitely won't squeeze out if still alive.  One more application of superglue did it, and the next morning, the last one jumped out to greet the day with an easy squeeze.
Just thought you'd want to know about the superglue treatment.  Definitely  the most effective and efficient. Turns out Rick had 5 botfly larvae in his scalp.
We dropped them into a half-full miniature bottle of Jack Daniels (kind of  like the worm in the Tequila) and sent them off to his doctor who definitely wanted to examine them.
All the while I cared for Rick (and the botflies), I kept saying that part of the wedding vow to myself, "In sickness and in health."  When those nasty things came out, I couldn't stop saying, "You poor man, you poor man." You see, when he'd stop in the middle of walking, hold his head in pain and grimace and yelp, I had been a bit skeptical before I knew what these things were.  Now, I will never doubt him when he says he is in pain.)
THANK YOU, for putting your article on the web.  Who knows how long it
would have taken to get a correct diagnosis in Columbus, Ohio?  We are grateful to you.

Jennifer and Rick Brunner

P.S.  When a buddy of Rick's heard about his botflies, he e-mailed Rick saying, "You know I always thought your wife looked like Sigourney Weaver, but don't you think you're taking this alien thing a little too far?" Thanks again.


This email with a photo has been going around but the information is wrong!
The true story about a 5 yr. old boy and photos come from this site below.
http://archopht.ama-assn.org/issues/v118n7/ffull/epe90105-1.html

Got this in a forwarded email. Is this a Bot Fly Larva?
Subject: FW: eye irritation read it first. This poor guy was minding his own business & he felt an eye irritation. Thinking that it was just regular dust, he started to rub his eye, in an effort to remove the  dust. Then his eyes got really red, so he bought some eye drops from the pharmacy. A few days passed and his eyes were still red and seemed a little swollen. Again he dismissed it as dust & continued rubbing, hoping it would go away. As the days went by, the swelling of his eye got worse & the redness increased until he decided to go and see a doctor for a check up.
The doctor immediately wanted an operation, being afraid of a tumor growth or cyst.   At the operation, what was thought to be a growth or cyst, actually turned out to be a live worm. What was thought initially to be just mere dust actually was an insect's egg......


10/14/02

Hi,
We just happened to be telling our children about the botfly that I got from Belize. I thought I would go to the net and look it up. I got your story. Thanks for vindicating the pain and such that I went through. I am from South Dakota, definitely not the botfly capital of the world, and married to a dermatologist. Thankfully mine was in my back and not in the nether regions and only 1 larva. I finally had way more than enough wine and squeezed it out. It hit the mirror I was looking at and started to squirm. Due to my wife being a derm we knew about these critters, but she was still in denial until I showed it to her. We still have it saved in a test tube.
Thanks for the web site! Botfly victims united!

John


August 07, 2002

A couple of weeks ago my 16 year old son returned from the Jungle in Peru. He has a lump on his head with a  whole it drains blood some puss. 3 doctors have looked at it and told us they don't know what it is. Tonight I applied warm compress and gentle pressure have been doing this for a week.) and all of a sudden the whole look like it got bigger and this live thing shot out and landed on me. We put it in a bottle.
It is still moving. My husband had a read an article while my son was in Peru that mention botfly. So here I am on your page and thanks to your information I may get some sleep. I will take this with me to the doctor in the morning. I can't thank you enough!!! He also complains of the area around his ear hurting. Any extra Information would be most helpful!!!!!
Evon Fales


July 4, 2002

Hi Brenda

Thank you for all of your help!! This morning at the clinic I asked the one physician who speaks the best English if it was a bot fly, and she didn't think it was. She said there was no wormy looking larvae in it, and that it is probably a bacterial infection. All of my symptoms have been very similar to what you described as being the bot fly though. Yesterday a big core squeezed out and it seems to be getting much better ever since. Actually today it feels great and has reduced in size alot, I can actually touch it with out being in pain. I guess if it is a bot fly it will remain a mystery, I am just glad it is healing so I can enjoy my last few weeks in Costa Rica, I have had a wonderful time. Even the bot fly wouldn't stop me from coming back. Thanks again for all of your help.

Janet Hollifield


Feb. 24, 2002

I feel for you, especially since you and the wife had to endure the stupid arrogance of doctors who won't let you help them out.  I came home with 8 in my back (From Belize, by a lake) out of which 7 were extracted by following the traditional method of "airtight" goop suffocation followed be popping them out.   My boyfriend became excellent at it, bless his heart, and was trying to let the doctors know as they insisted on digging for the last one themselves.  Now I have a nice size scar on my back. Not to mention, the last bot fly....  boyfriend got that one out as well after it burrowed even deeper, escaping the scalpel.
All in all it's a good drinking story.

Krisztina


Feb. 24, 2002

Hi!  My name is Maya Almaraz and I am a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley.  In January I went on a trip to Belize as part of a research team out of UC Davis.  We were trapping and tagging spinney pocket mice and other small rodents in the rainforest to study their relation to seed dispersal and germination.  I have been back for about a month and
today. I found out my friend and I both have beefworms (botflies).  I had seen doctors twice before and was told it was an infected mosquito bite and given antibiotics.   Both times I had specifically asked if it was botflies because while on our trip a man staying with us had a couple in his head and had a friend squeeze them out at the dinner table for him, that image stayed with me.  So after seeing a tropical disease specialist I found I have three. They are in no way the size of a goose egg, but big enough to feel.  I was told I need surgery (even though I have heard the raw meat theories) and wondering how long it was before Mark finally got his professional treatment and how urgent treatment is for me and my friend.  Thanks a bunch and I hope to hear from you soon.

-Maya Almaraz


Feb. 14, 2002

Hi there,
  Thank you so much for your thorough review of the Bot Fly. I am a family physician in Bellingham WA.  I work at an Urgent Care Center.  Today I saw a 24 year old male who had traveled to Costa Rica 3 weeks ago.
He remembered being bit by a mosquito on the left calf one night while sitting on the beach.  Two sites became itchy and eventually each formed indurate papules with a 1mm umbilicated center.  The persistence of the lesions combined with their waxing and waning pain and itching motivated him to come see me.

Admittedly I wasn't sure what was going on.  Two days ago I treated him with an antibiotic figuring these were boils.  But today the patient said it felt like something was moving.  One thing lead to another and I cleaned and numbed up his leg and got the larva out of one site.
I didn't know what it was but I knew that I had seen it before.  After exhausting all the texts where I thought I had seen this, I went to the internet.  A search on "subcutaneous larva Costa Rica" led me to your site.
What a resource! I have forwarded the link to the patient. He is excited to have the information. I did not attend to the second site today.  He wants to try the meat treatment tonight. Thank you for your site. The information has helped a very grateful, if not understandably repulsed, 24 year old male.  The information has made me look like I know what I'm doing (always a goal in the doctor biz). Total time from excision to diagnosis thanks to your site:  around 3 hours. I appreciate your having the "balls" to share. This is truly a representation of the value of the internet.
Gratefully yours,

Todd


Jan. 24, 2002

I am originally from Belize, Central America, and a few years ago I went back to Belize to visit and I was bitten by a botfly, and it was a very strange experience for me because I lived in Belize for twenty years of my life and was never bitten by one but I have heard of other people that worked in the jungle have and also my late father had been bitten when he was working in the bush, he was a sawmill owner, so he was always in the jungle. and so years later when I was bitten I was not sure if this was just a mosquito bite or what because I was not in the bush/jungle but I was on a boat traveling down river, but I wondered why my mosquito bite was not getting better, I noticed the spot was very irritated and oozing and started to feel a biting I tried to take care of it on my own and I thought it will get better eventually and it did not, I one night noticed that when I squeezed it! s! something pulled back in, I saw a head and that is when I screamed out and I told my husband to take me to the hospital because this was something live inside of me and pretty freaky, off we went to the hospital and the doctor was freaked out by this asked where I got this he has never seen anything like this before and said that it may have to be removed surgically and he told me to call the science museum of Chicago and find out what this was and I did and they had no idea but they were curious about it and told me that when I get it removed to please contact them again but this is what I did; if you want to know more about this please reply: Is the suspense getting to you!!! D

More from D regarding how her botfly was removed.

Jan. 26, 2002

Hello again, well as the story continues regarding the botfly. I called a friend of mine from Belize and told her my situation with the botfly and she told me that her mother had some knowledge of what this could be and I called her mother right away and told her my story and so she said that she would help me; my husband took me over to her house and my friend's mom told me to lie down and that she will drip hot wax into the hole and that she will squeeze the area as hard as she can and cannot let go until the bug comes out and it certainly did, it hurt a lot ,it was about an inch long , with hair and looked well nourished (smile) she said oh my gosh why did you wait so long because this thing was so big already, anyway  I saved it and I put it inside a jar along with some preservative so that the Science museum had told me to do and I was to meet this guy from the museum to give it! t! o him but that never happened so I still have it here at home with me and I often take it out and show it at parties and it freaked everyone out, pretty weird huh! Then a couple years after that my husband went diving with his brother to Belize went to San Pedro Ambergris Caye and he came back with one in his arm but we had our experience already and we were able to take it out of his arm by just squeezing the area and his was just a long black string, freaky! Anyway that's my story, if you want to know more about Belize feel free to ask, take care, D


January 6, 2003

Brenda and Mark,
I returned from Belize in mid-November.  The upper lobe of my right ear started itching about two weeks later, and sharp pain followed the first
week in December.  I went to my GP, told him of my travels (not remembering any particularly nasty bites), and he told me I had a bacterial infection.  A shot and course of antibiotics followed with no improvement.  A week later
I was back, but this time the Doc says it must be the Shingles.  Anti-viral medication was started, and in three days lab tests came back negative.
But believe it or not, after two days on anti-viral, the sharp pains were
gone. I took the medication for four days, and was off for another four days
when the pain returned.  Back to the Doctor.  This time he wants to refer me
for a biopsy to rule out cancer.  I got him to give me another weeks worth of
the anti-viral, and called an Ear Nose and Throat specialist myself.  It took
me two weeks to get in due to the holidays, and by my appointment (January
3 ), I was enduring longer and more frequent bouts of pain (Seems to me the
little guy was more active at night).  The Specialist took one look and said whatever it is we need to drain it and clean it out.  So on Saturday the fourth, a short six weeks after returning from Belize, the Doc cut me open and pulled out what appeared to be a blood clot, until it moved.  Instant relief.  Still can't explain why the anti-viral took the edge off the pain though.  All in all an interesting experience for someone who did undergraduate work in entomology, specializing in agricultural insect pest control in California.  My colleagues will never let me live this one
down.

                                      Mike Kennedy

Jan. 14, 2003

Wanted to write and thank you for your website. I went to Belize in December '02 and came back with a bite that wouldn't heal.

Finally decided to make an appointment with a doctor and the botfly must've heard me because this very morning I was able to pull it out (painfully!) It was about 1" long.
I was severely grossed out and of course have never seen anything like this in my life.  Googling 'worm, skin and bore' I came up with screw worms and botflies which eventually led me to your site.
 
So now I am armed with info from your site that I will bring to my doctor anyway in case there is infection.
 
Thanks again for hosting the site, its an invaluable resource.  It also appears that Belize is one of the more popular hangouts for these creatures from your reader feedback.
 
Jim

Jan. 18, 2003

Brenda-

Thank you for sharing Mark's botfly experience: the pain, humor, lyrics, native remedies, and medical experience and information.  If only I'd known of your website sooner I might have saved myself weeks of medical mystery.  It was only after the my little companion was determined to be a botfly larvae that I talked to my sister Abi who has spent a lot of time traveling in the remote regions of Central and South America.  She was quite familiar with bot flies and turned me on to your website.  So here's my story.
 
In mid November 2002 my wife Bonnie and I spent a week traveling in Costa Rica.  We were a few days at Arenal and vicinity and a few days on the beaches of the Pacific coast.  Arenal volcano was spectacular and our guide kept reiterating how fortunate we were to see it;  for most of the time it is hidden in the clouds.
 
About three weeks after we got home [Boston area] from a  relaxing week of hiking, exploring, and lounging on the beach I noticed a sore on the shin of my right leg.  I had no idea how it got there; no recollection of scrapes or bruises.  It was itchy and looked a bit like a bug bite that has been scratched. The surrounding area was red.  I didn't think much of it at the time,  but two weeks later when it still hadn't healed and was clearly infected I started getting concerned and went to see a dermatologist.  He prescribed an antibiotic cream and antibiotic pills.  I delayed taking the antibiotic pills because of a concern about drug interactions with the immunosuppressant medications I am as the result of a kidney transplant two years ago.  It took me nearly a week to reach the doctor again to get clarification about the safety of his prescription.  [ It didn't help that all of this was happening over the Christmas and New Years week when  doctors are notoriously inaccessible].  All this time the sore was getting worse and oozing almost constantly.  In addition to the itching that I had at the beginning, I had throughout occasional sharp stinging pains usually of only a second or two duration. 
 
On the night of January 3rd the pains were frequent and intense keeping me awake for a good part of the night.  By noon the next day, Saturday Jan. 4th, my whole right leg below the knee was extremely inflamed and very red and hot.  We headed to the emergency room at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  The doctors there, knowing that I was a transplant patient on immunosuppressant drugs,  took one look at me and said I needed to stay in the hospital and be on intravenous antibiotics to clear up what they called cellulites.  I spent five days there on the IV with my legs elevated as much as I could tolerate.  After the five days they sent me home with a PICC line in my arm and automated infusion pump for another week of IV antibiotics.  The nasty looking sore on my leg was clearing up, but I still had a quarter inch diameter crater on my leg to which each day I applied a dab of Bacitracin and a bandage.
 
You can only imagine my surprise when on last Thursday morning [Jan 16] I removed the bandage to find a worm crawling out of the hole in my leg.  My wife was totally grossed out and swore  she'd never go to a tropical country again.  As I was getting ready to go to the hospital to have it removed, it fell out.  I put it - still very alive and wiggling- in a small jar to take to my doctor.  The worm [larvae] was a dirty white color about 3/16" in diameter and 1/2 -3/4" long.  The doctor at first thought that it was a hookworm, but sent it out for analysis which determined that it was a botfly larvae. 
 
The botfly is found throughout Central and South American.  Part of its reproductive cycle requires living in the body of a warm blooded host [me].  The female [not wanting to take responsibility for its actions] lays its eggs on the belly of mosquitoes and other biting insects.  When the mosquito bites a person, the person's body heat is enough to cause a tiny larvae to hatch from one of the eggs.  The larvae then burroughs into the body, leaving itself an air hole so that it can breath [and I can ooze].  After 6-8 weeks if left undisturbed the full grown larvae emerges in order to pupate and become a botfly and begin the life cycle all over again.
 
So, not only had I brought home from Costa Rica a souvenir I was unaware of, but in the process I got an unplanned for lesson in entomology.
 
Nathan Rome

January 27, 2003

Thanks for your time and efforts in constructing a comprehensive website devoted to Mark's "twins".  After reading your story and knowing what we went through with our dog, I'm changing vets. 

 
We recently moved to NC ~ the Smokey Mountains.  Scenic this, lovely that, look at the woods, you know the ads.  One Thursday night our Elkhound [dog] was licking her side constantly, enough to disturb our sleep and make us quite aggravated.  After two days she had the fur/hair matted down pretty good.  We then saw the "wound" and thought it was a b-b imbedded in her side.  The wound was red, round, and raised it had an opening and was seeping.  Of course this was now Sunday afternoon of a holiday weekend. 
 
Our lively stealth guard dog was not herself.  Mopy, dry nose and eyes.  She didn't raise her head when the squirrels teased her.  I was positive she was shot, maybe buck shot infection/poisoning.  She let me apply some drawing salve [pine tar] and gauze to the wound.  By this time it was seeping steadily, very inflamed and very warm.
 
You've seen and heard it all, so I'll cut to the chase.  Monday afternoon I was able to squeeze the wound [must be a girl thing to squeeze things] after two squeezes you guessed it, the larvae came popping out.  Put specimen into a container to bring to the vet on Tuesday. 
 
He took one look at it and very professionally proclaimed oh, it's just a wolf worm.  Very common for this area ~ oh really.  Then why couldn't I find anything on the internet or vet reference books regarding a "wolf worm"?  I threw that diagnosis into the trash with the "your beagle has mange and your other dog won't get it" diagnosis.  Beagle had "hot spots", Elkhound had botfly larvae.  
 
Animal Planet aired a special on parasites and we immediately identified the culprit in the lineup.  Decided to do some internet learning and read of your plight.  I'm not too sure I was glad to read of a human's experience because I learned of the pain and agony our family pet endured.  She'll get a few extra treats tonight ~ she won't know why, but I'll feel better.

dan@harveyduckerson.com

 

 
My email to Dan....

Thanks for writing about your poor doggies ordeal. Glad the website was able to help in some way. That is what the site is intended for. Mark & I think the type of botfly was a rabbit botfly that got your elkhound. There are many different kinds of botflys.  Mark is  found in Central America and called a human botfly. I am not an authority on botfly's though by NO means, just read alot about it. Sometimes the larva's are called "beef worms", never heard the term wolf worm though. Don't blame you for getting a different vet, with two wrong diagnoses, sounds like he needs to study more. My Mothers cousin lived in Belize for several years & said it was very common for their pets to get bitten. They used axle grease to cover the air hole, then did as you did squeezing it out. Of course they thought nothing of it & were amused by Marks story, as most folks are.

I have done a website on my botfly emails. Do you mind if I include yours?
Thanks again for writing & give your dog a treat for me as well. I love animals.
Brenda Johnstone
Dan's reply....
Please include my e-mail.  In searching your site and links I found one reference to a wolf worm.  Apparently a young child (under 5) had symptoms similar to Mark's.  The grandfather had stated all along that it looked like a wolf worm. 
 
Our local taxidermist said the hunters here call it deer worm, but the wound is found primarily on the head near the joining of the antlers. 
 
Thanks again for your time and efforts. Axle grease eh?

February 3, 2003

Brenda and Mark,

 

Thanks to you and all your contributors, this site gave me a lot of comfort during my botfly ordeal.  My wife and I traveled to Iguazu Falls in Northern Argentina this January where we had a great time viewing sites in this tropical area.

 

I was hardly concerned when I noticed a few mosquito bites after a jeep safari into the rain forest.  I expected they would disappear, and they did, except three bumps on my leg and one on my back.  These were large bumps with an oozy hole in the top.  Two weeks after the event I was able to push out of one of the bites what looked like the stinger end of a bee.  This bump then started to heal rapidly.

 

Three weeks into the event, I started to get sharp pains in the other bites. One morning I pressed hard on another bump and out came a live wiggling larva (what a freaky thing this is).  I took the specimen to my doctor who correctly diagnosed the botfly larve and told me to smother the remaining two bites with Vaseline to cover the breathing hole, wait several hours, and then push them out.  This worked!  My wife gets the 'top trooper' award for assisting on the bite on my back.

 

Its like remembering some bad Sci-Fi movie, but really there were no lasting side effects. Will I keep traveling?  To South America?  You betcha!

 

- D Snow

Email to Dave....

Dave,
You are so lucky to be able to squeeze them out & not have them cut out, not to even mention the fact that the Doctor knew what they were! Do you mind if I add your email to my website?
Thanks for sharing your story.
Brenda Johnstone

 

His reply....

You are so right about the not having to have them removed.  My doctor was so thrilled to have something new and exciting to do... I, on the other hand, just wanted them OUT. J
 
Please add me to the website, it helped me to see that there were several people that had to endure the ordeal.
 
Keep up the good work!
 

I emailed the botfly website to David Letterman show, hoping to get Mark an interview. Here is the rejection email from the Late Show with David Letterman.
Hey...you never know, it might have worked!

Dear Brenda,
Thanks for bringing your husband's interesting, uncomfortable and... amusing? Medical dilemma to our attention!
Unfortunately, we don't feel we can feature him as a guest on our program. Nevertheless, we appreciate you thinking of the Late Show and wish you and your husband the best.

Sincerely,

Celia Converse
Talent Coordinator
Late Show with David Letterman




March 21, 2003

Hi Brenda

I have another botfly story to add to your collection.

I had been on vacation in Belize with my boyfriend, Arch,  from February 22
to March 3, 2003. When I returned to St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday,
March 3, 2003, I noticed a small bump on my left cheek, near my eye.  It was
slightly red and itchy and I thought it might be a mosquito bite or a zit.
I had no recollection of being bitten. I carried on normally when I returned
home, however, by March 9-10 the red spot was getting bigger, redder and
more irritated.  On Tuesday, March 11th I was driving home to lunch when I
got an excruciating stabbing pain in the bump and it began to ooze a clear
fluid.  It was throbbing and red and swollen. I had read about the botfly in
a book before I left for Belize and jokingly thought whatever the bump was
about to hatch!!  It didn't hatch but I did call my family doctor and
made an immediate appointment for that afternoon.  When he examined my face
he diagnosed it as a bite that had gotten infected and to which I had an
allergic reaction.   I made sure to tell him I had just returned from Belize
and the length of time I had been there.  He prescribed the antibiotic Cipro
for me.

I took the Cipro however had an allergic reaction almost immediately.  I
called my family doctor the following day and he prescribed another
antibiotic, Ceftin for a period of 7 days. I began taking that but did not
notice any difference in the bump on my face.  On Thursday, March 14 we were
having a baby shower for my sister-in law. I spent most of the night with a
tissue to my face as I was assaulted with these stabbing pains and fluid
continued to leak out of the bump. As the weekend came on, the bump
continued to grow, it became redder, my face became swollen from my eye to
my chin and the stabbing pains continued.  The bump looked like a volcano -
raised, round, with a hole in the center.  It continued to ooze fluid that
was mostly clear but sometimes a bloody brown or black. I even tried a bread
poultice to try and draw out what I believed to be an infection. It didn't
work.

By the week of March 17, the bump was beginning to bleed spontaneously. I
would be sat at my desk at work or driving in the car and I would feel blood
flowing down my face.  The stabbing pains continued and became worse at
night.  I called the clinic I had attended for shots prior to my trip to
Belize and explained the problem to them.  They suggested that I consult an
infectious disease specialist however I needed a referral from my family
doctor.  I returned to my family doctor and explained to him that I thought
it might be a botfly  that was causing the bump on my face - he told me I
was watching too much Star Trek!!  I asked him send me to an infectious
disease specialist and he said he wanted to "give it another shot."  He
called the infectious disease specialist and explained that I had an abscess
on my face.  The specialist recommended some antibiotic in 500 mg  tablets -
two tablets, four times a day.  I took the tablets for 24 hours and my face
actually got worse.  The swelling was so pronounced that my eyelid was
drooping and felt as if it was beginning to shut. My face looked like I had
had a tooth pulled.  The bump was still oozing fluid of various colors
spontaneously and it was still bleeding with the stabbing pain.

On the afternoon of March 19 my office assistant, Cora, came into my office
and said she didn't want to scare me but she had been researching the botfly
on the internet and was reading stories off your website and the symptoms
being described were identical to the symptoms I had been describing. I had
been pretty calm for the last 2 weeks but when I read the symptoms and saw
that they were exactly what I was experienced I started to feel a little
freaked out.  I called my family doctor again who told me not to panic, that
it took antibiotics 48 hours to work and I should wait to see what they
would do.  I explained how I had taken antibiotics for a week with no
difference in the symptoms and since taking the new drugs, my face had
actually gotten worse.  He told me if I was still worried to come in at the
end of the week.. At more prodding from my colleagues ( who were completely
grossed out by the bump and convinced it was the botfly) I went to the
emergency department of one of the city hospitals armed with the literature
from your website.

At the hospital, myself and my friend Cheryl, explained to the nurse what we
thought it was.  To my surprise, she didn't call in a psych. consult but
actually seemed to believe us.  Then to our surprise, a friend of ours who
is a surgeon showed up.  He immediately took out a syringe to aspirate the
bump to see if there was any infection and  of course there wasn't any.  The
E.R. doctor had a look at it, squeezed it a little until I told him he could
squeeze away as the bump itself wasn't painful, just the inflamed area
around it.  They concluded that these two factors, no discharge or
tenderness, indicated that there was no infection.  We discussed the
literature we had brought with us, the doctors consulted a medical journal
and then said they thought we had correctly diagnosed it. I had also brought
some literature from a physician in Canada who wrote on his experience with
the botfly and how he had surgically removed the larva.  So Mr. Surgeon
takes me into the O.R. and before I know it my face is deadened and he's
making an incision to find the creepy little guy.  He fished around for a
period of time and I was getting concerned that maybe we hadn't correctly
diagnosed it when he suddenly said "my God - you were right!!" and pulled
the maggot out and dropped into the bottle Cheryl was holding (she was quite
the assistant!).  He continued to root around for a period of time to make
sure Fred (as we christened him) wasn't a twin and didn't have any roommates
or that we hadn't left part of Fred behind!!  Fortunately there were no more
and I was stitched up with 2 stitches located just to the side of my eye. 

I had a good look at the little guy - who was still moving - and he was
identical to the pictures on the websites - white, with 3 stripes that are
actually spiny hooks, what looked to be a tail but what we think might have
been the breathing tube and 2 little pincers at the front of him.  My God, I
can't believe it was in me!! I felt immediate relief, both physically and
mentally, the swelling around me eye immediately started to subside as did
the inflammation.

In any event, that was 2 days ago, it is now Friday March 21 and my face is
100% improved!!  There is some swelling from the surgery but less than there
was with the botfly and the pain and discomfort is gone, with the exception
of the incision. And I am none the worse for the wear.

SO the question everyone keeps asking - would I go to Belize again??
Absolutely!!  The chances of this happening appear to be slim, no one else I
know who was there had any bites, so I'd  certainly take the chance again.
The whole experience does seem rather surreal and as the T-shirts proclaim ,
it was rather UNBELIZEABLE!!

Annette M. Conway
St. John's, NFLD.
Canada

Thank you for replying.  I also meant to put in my story that it was thanks
to your website that I was able to identify definitively that it was indeed
the botfly.  I wanted to share my story as well so that maybe it might help
other people who were uncertain as to what condition they had.  And yes, my
doctor is being sent the lab report on the botfly for my chart - which I
think I will then be taking to a new physician.

Again, thank you so much for having the foresight to start this website -
you've undoubtedly helped more people than you'll ever know.

Annette Conway

Your welcome Annette. 


March 31, 2003  

I too was bitten and had to have surgery to remove my friend who I brought back from a cruise with an 8 hour stop in Costa Rica.   After reading all of the stories mine is similar to several of them...except for the bitten area which is close to where Mark was bitten but I am a female so lets say it was about 6 inches below the belly button.
     thank you for all the info on the subject and lets hope none of us need it again

  MAY        MayzieK @aol.com


Brenda:
Here's what a bush doctor said works wonderfully:
 ================

 Just take a little tobacco -- or even heavily camphorated oil soaked in a
small cotton packing -- tape over vent hole -- the worm comes out -- 8 hour later pull off the tape -- voila -- one grub -- no infection -- everything
 OK.

 I tell people here to apply "Tiger Balm" to every "bite" -- as soon as
they know it.

 Tiger Balm is rich in camphor.
 ============
 Might want to put that onto the page. he deals with them all the time....
 Marty

April 29, 2003

After spending 10 days in the jungles of Belize, I returned home with two 'bites' on my butt. Thinking they were spider bites I left them alone only to have them get bigger and painful. About 4 weeks after getting back from Belize I went to see a doctor. He didn't really know what they were, but suggested soaking them in warm water with Epsom salt.

Well, I soaked in a tub of very hot water ( about as hot as could stand ) with Epsom salt for 45 minutes before I went to bed. The next morning.....surprise! Both bite areas had the dead larvae sticking out and both were thus very easy to express. I was too shocked and fascinated to be disgusted.
I guess the combination of being soaked under water that was also very hot killed them.
Just thought this may interest your readers as another possible way to get rid of them.
Loved your web site.
Thanks, David

May 6, 2003
Brenda,
I am a special forces medic.  I am in Bolivia right now.  I saw the coolest thing yesterday.  I was in a village when I was able to witness and film a bot fly larvae extraction.  no one knew what it was, except the village people.  I knew from my peculiar training exactly what it was.  I just thought it was real neat to see it in person.  it was on the top of 12 year old males head.  it was about 1 inch long.  they injected hydrogen peroxide in it.  they say it kills it and/or forces it to come out.  they were correct.  that thing did not want to be in there after that.  I wanted to read some more and found your site.  maybe one day you can see the rare footage I shot.
AC

May 6,2003
Thank you very much for your web page.  After four weeks of pain and doctors assuming I had a scalp infection we finally figured out I had 5 botfly sites.  Your web page helped me to understand the nasty critter and determine a procedure for extraction.  Mine were from Costa Rica.
Thanks,
Barbara
Thanks for writing Barbara. How did you get them out? I just got an email today from a medic in Bolivia who filmed a 12 yr old getting larva's removed from his head. They used hydrogen peroxide. What procedure did you have done to have them removed? What area of Costa Rica do you think you were bitten at? Mark knows it was near Volcano Arenal. Costa Rica is a very beautiful country, having experienced botflys will not keep us from going back.
Thanks again for the email.
Brenda Johnstone
Hi Brenda,
 
I stayed in Arenal, but I also stayed in Monteverde and Puntarenas.  I was on a hiking/birding tour so we were out in other areas in between.  I think I got the bites when we were staying in Monteverde. 
 
Mine were extracted with the help of several doctors in an outpatient clinic.  The first one was taken out during a biopsy which was being done to determine what was wrong with my scalp.  They discovered the air hole after the biopsy and mutilated the larva as they tried to get it out leaving some of it inside.  They wanted pathology to figure out what it was.  At that point we didn't know about bot flies.  We are watching that site carefully for infection.  Then they sent me home with the other four still living in my scalp!  The next day they successfully got #2 out with the petroleum jelly procedure.  The last three were more stubborn and were finally removed surgically (after trying the meat procedure for a short time with no luck).  They cut an X over the air hole and then pressed and pressed until the larva was aggravated enough to emerge.  It took many fingers to keep enough pressure on all sides to keep the larva from going back in.  My neck and shoulders are very sore from trying to keep up the resistance against the pressure.  It took 2 1/2 hours to get those last four out.  Fortunately my scalp had been numbed with lidocain (sp?) so that all I felt was the pressure.  Each larva was about 2 cm long when it emerged and then shrunk to 1 1/2 cm after it lay on the table for awhile.
 
It will be awhile before I hike an area that has botflies again.  However, I'm going on a Panama Canal Cruise in September which has a port in Costa Rica.  I'll use insect repellant this time and hope to have better luck.  Since I wore a hat during most of the hikes, I am surprised that there was an opportunity.  Do you know of any other precautions to take?
 
Thanks again for your website,
Barbara

May 20, 2003
Dear Brenda,
I went to the doctor about a lump in my scalp. I had been in Panama and thought it was a bug bite. He diagnosed it as a subcutaneous cyst and scheduled surgery for the beginning of June. Yesterday, I felt a sort of bump on my bump, though it was cyst material and--quel surprise--squeezed out a larva. (It never hurt while growing. I did and do have swollen glands on my neck on that side) .I was very disgusted. Thank heaven the same thing happened to my dog once or I would have been totally grossed out. So now I have a dermatologist appointment tomorrow to see if there are any more creatures.
 
Thank you for the web site. I feel a little less grossed because of all the similar stories.
Carol

May 27, 2003

My boyfriend and I got back from Costa Rica 6 weeks ago and an hour ago he gave birth to a full grown botfly!! All joking aside this thing was really disgusting. We were hiking in the rainforest at the bottom of the Arenal volcano 5 days into the trip and during a stop to observe a large group of spider monkeys we both experienced the only mosquitoes bites we can remember getting during the whole trip. We have decided this is most likely the time he received when he received the little larvae. Two days after returning he had what we thought was a nasty, but normal, spider bite on his lower right leg. For the first two weeks it never improved, but didn't seem to get much worse, just continued to itch. In the weeks to follow, the area became large; almost egg size, red, and a hole began to form in the center. The area around the hole was hard to the touch. A few tiny fluid filled blisters appeared around the outside.  When he would squeeze it a fluid would come out but nothing would happen. The hole remained open all the time, never healing over. 5 weeks into it, this thing is visibly not a normal spider bit so he begins searching the internet under "Costa Rican Spider Bites".  To our shock the first site to pop up is Mark's story and all the details match; the volcano, the pictures, and the time frame. So after calming down from the realization that he most likely has a 'maggot' like creature growing in his leg we decide to do all the things these sites tell us to do.

This was his first visit to a doctor who skeptically turned him away with an antibiotic as all the other stories suggested would happen. 

   Besides constantly trying to squeeze something out of there, our first attempt was 41/2 weeks into it. Neosporin and a band aid. For two days this did not show any results, except for improving the look of the area outside of the hole slightly.

   The third night of following suggestions from other stories we smothered it in a pile of Neosporin for 2 hours which seemed to work for other people but not for this botfly just yet.

   The fourth day into treating it (5 weeks and one day from the day we think he got it), he continued with the Neosporin and a band aid. Later that evening he removed the band aid to finally see results. One side of the creature was sticking out of the hole, squirming around for air. It remained out briefly and then randomly made appearances for the next few minutes while myself, and 3 or 4 other people could witness this thing in his leg.

   At this point we decided to suffocate the thing by whatever means necessary. We lathered Vaseline about a half inch thick on the hole and waited. It took almost an hour before we saw it come up for air. At this time I stuck the tweezers into the mound of Vaseline and yanked on it. We both felt and heard a snap, but soon after, it was poking itself out again. 

  An hour and a half into it, we had attempted the Vaseline, then Elmer's glue (which was to hard to see through and didn't seem to show results), and finally a dab of super glue which hardened over the hole with what we thought was part of the body stuck inside the clear glue. We pulled that off, thinking we tore part of it off. We covered the hole with Neosporin and a band aid and called it a night.

  This morning, to our surprise the thing was still moving around and making an appearance now and then.

 We though we finally had enough proof for a doctor’s recognition, so he made another trip to the emergency room, who tried to send him to a surgeon, who then tried to send him back to the emergency room. US doctors did not want to deal with this at all.

  After all of this failed, we resorted to the tweezers and Neosporin. Mid-day after pointless trips to see doctor's, and 2 hours of observing the hole through random fluids the night before, he was able to grab a hold of the end of the botfly larvae with the tweezers and slowly pull. A long skinny portion came out first and then the end, a spiny round shape, popped out. It looks just like the pictures you see here:

http://mycostaricatrip.sitemanager.ims.net/learn/index.php?category_id=163

As long as there are no other larvae inside, this looks like the end of it!


June 12, 2003
Approximately 4-6 weeks after visiting Costa Rica, what I thought was an infected mosquito bite, turned into this.
I pulled this out of my knee.  I think the picture says it all.
WOW!
Kelon Crocker


June 15, 2003
I found your website after the fact of a botfly infestation.  Since I
am a travel agent, I feel responsible for telling clients how to seek
immediate care if incubating a larva (although I try to be as tactful
and reassuring as possible).
Really weird problem.
I was with a family group and no one else had a problem.  I knew I got
bitten and saw the distinctive pore opening, but had not clue (since I
am such an optimist) of what was to come.  I had the little larva for
about a month in the undersurface of my upper arm.  It only itched. 
Didn't die with Chigger Aid treatment but eventually was persuaded to
leave when I used a combination of Chigger Aid and fingernail polish.
I was peeling off the airproof layer about to reapply a new coat (due
to itching).  Thought I was pulling off a layer of clear polish and
actually caught the end of the larva (which must have been half dead
and gasping for air) and pulled the larva intact from my skin.  Since I
had no idea I had a larval infestation, this "cure" was very upsetting
in its own right.  YUCK.
For others, I recommend identifying the characteristic pore opening
very early (within a week of bite) and going to a dermatologist.  The
doctor will inject a local anesthetic and remove the larva intact with
little pain or damage to the person.  Also, if you don't look, you can
spare yourself the shock of what you've been incubating.  YUCK.
Prompt correct diagnosis and professional removal is the least
traumatic experience for those of us selected for botfly infestation.
You wrote a good article covering the subject.
Thanks,
Betsy
I asked Betsy what country she had traveled too. Here is her reply.
Costa Rica in
April 2003:  Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio
Rainforest.  Subjectively believe the offending mosquito bite was at
the last place during a patio dinner at the hotel. Of course no way to
know for sure.
Betsy

July 17, 2003
hi, my name is Anthony Cuccia and I was recently in an exchange program in
Costa Rica for 6 months.  After a weekend trip to playa samara with my
friends I found a persistent mosquito bite on the right side of my lower
back.  The mosquito bit me through my hammock I was sleeping in at the time.
  For well over a month I believed the non healing bite to be just a bad
mosquito bite and experienced sharp pains every now and then.  I didn't
think much of it an learned to live with the bearable pain.  One day I had
had enough and decided to squeeze the bite until something happened.  Upon
squeezing the bite I saw a whiteness coming to the surface.  As I squeezed
harder a small larva shaped object, what I now know was a bot fly larva
popped out and fell to the floor.  Upon examination I realized it was still
alive.  The larva was all white with what appeared to be a black dot at one
end (the hooks used for tearing flesh).  I was a little weirder out but
thought as long as there was no infection or other side affects I would be
fine.  In fact I thought nothing of it until I saw a program on the animal
planet tonight and decided to research the web to see what I could find.  I
came across your story and I can now put my mind at ease.  I am returning to
live in Costa Rica this fall and I am now fully prepared to deal with any
further bot fly incidents I may encounter.  I appreciate the information you
have provided and I consider myself now informed.
thank you,
Anthony Cuccia

July 20, 2003
Thank you for  your informative site!!
I spent a few weeks in BELIZE and came home with one of those bites that just don't go away... and leaked, hurt, and itched...
Well, I tried all your stories' solutions out... I couldn't bring myself to get hacked up like my mom did after her botfly experiences (she's had seven at one time cut out by a HMO surgeon), so I went at it myself...
I tried the Vaseline, gobbed it on and then freaked out - realizing that truly I had something living inside me... then I was more determined than ever!!! squeezing wasn't going to work... it was still rather small... and well dug in... I thought that the Vaseline was good, but then I put a thick clear packing tape over the Vaseline - it formed a solid window that the little guy could not penetrate to breath.  It was really pissed off now... frantic to breath... but I gave up for the night... the next day I was obsessed. I bought a new scalpel and cut a cross into my flesh (keep it sterile folks) tried to squeeze it out and still firmly dug in... and pissed off more than ever... the tiger balm was really the winner though... gobbed on thick and covered with clear tape.... slept with it on and in the morning my flesh was soft and the little guy had finally given up his hold.
this was easier than a trip to the doctor/butcher (who of course has never seen one before anyway)
and it cost a whole lot less...  My sore has healed up quite nicely.... Thank you again for sharing your stories... They really helped me - I hope mine will help the rest of you poor unfortunate, probably freaked out, worried, paranoid, stressed out, bot fly infested souls.  It will get better... GOOD LUCK!! HAPPY HUNTING!!!      
see the attached photos of my happy little friend.
Robert Barbutti - santacruzphotographer.com


August 8, 2003
Dear Brenda and Mark:

One time my friend  and his wife came to my home for BBQ with big bump in his upper back leg and said it was mosquito bite while vacationing in Belize. Mike told me he went to 3 doctors because the pain is bothering him and has been taking shots for antivirus...nothing worked... I myself as a veterinarian and am native of Brazil have seen bumps and other lesions like it and laughed explaining through mixed English with Sign Language ( I am Deaf but speaking well with 3 languages) to Mike. He did not believe  and asked me to dol. put Vaseline around the affected region  to block this little host from breathing and waited for 4 hours then squeezed and it got out...it was almost full grown berne ( I use it in Portuguese language same as botfly worm) Mike freaked out  and wanting to go to Hospital. I calmed him down telling it was nothing and put antibiotic cream and band  aid. They brought the little visitor to their doctor ( I heard he freaked out seeing it) and send it for further examination....It was botfly ( or mosca berneira). I grew up in Sao Paulo and always go to my father s farms .. I have seen cattle being infected by botfly, horses are almost rare unless in poor condition...I have been bitten by ticks, mosquitoes, etc...but never  botfly ...my sister was her victim. After what happened to Mark, the word goes around  and more 2 people came here asking for the advice...I said   Vaseline  or hot wax around the wounded skin  and wait for few hours making the little host loosen its anchors ,going up to breath, then squeeze it...without  the necessity of having sugerical intervention unless something is critical
If someone living in New York City or Brooklyn can always e mail me at Dmealimka@aol.com

Jorge

August 30, 2003
Hey,
I just wanted to write to you and thank you for your site.  I had an encounter with a bot fly myself and it wasn't fun.  I went to Costa Rica to study Spanish for the month.  We traveled on the weekends and to arenal Puerto Viejo and Manuel Antonio.  When I got back my lymph nodes were swollen.  I also thought I had a mosquito bite on my head.  I went to the doctor.  He though that it was a fungal infection so put me on antibiotics and gave me Neosporin.  I returned when the lump on my head was growing and hurting.  It was also discharging a rusty colored liquid.  He referred me to a tropical disease doctor.  He was booked for a month.  I noticed a sharp strong pain in the area every once in a while for 10-30 seconds.  It was unbearable.  I went to the ER one night because my brother seen it and decided it would be a good Idea because It just looked like a hole.  That and it was bleeding pretty bad f! or a week and the night before it ran all the way down my neck.  When we get to the hospital the nurse passes it off as a bug bite and I sit for 5 hrs.  The doctor who then treats me has no idea what it was.  They took 10 tubes of blood to test and urine sample a chest x-ray and aspirated it with a two inch needle into my head.  She then referred me to a clinic in Philly who doesn't even deal with that....it was pre travel thing.  My step mom was on the phone all day and found a doctor from Costa Rica who pretty much diagnosed it on the phone. They squeezed me in too see it the next day.  They knew what it was and referred me to a surgeon. By this point it was living in my scalp for 8 weeks or so.  The surgeon took me in the next day.  I was awake during it.  There was many people in the OR because they never seen anything like it before.  When they cut open my scalp I heard them say "look how big it is"  I was the talk of work! my school and the hospital.  It was weird, it almost seems like it was a movie.  I am not mad about it or turned away from Costa Rica from it at all.  It all comes with traveling.  Thank you again for your website........It meant a lot to find info on such a hard subject to find info on.

Christian Kraft
Alvernia College
Reading, PA

September 8, 2003

Thanks! Your site is also a great link to send to gross out friends and families.  I didn't take any photographs of my botflies, so it is nice to have access to pictures.

I was living in Belize when I got my botflies, so I luckily did not have to deal with baffled doctors.  We were living in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye but had spent the Christmas holiday vacationing on the mainland. We spent a week hiking in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in hiking, waterfalls, birds or jaguars.  We went hiking with a local guide one day; he was very knowledgeable about the plant and animal life- including the botfly. He told us about the botfly and got the expected response- we were all disgusted.

When we left the reserve, we thought we were only taking with us memories of jaguars, trogans and peccaries.  As we sat at the bus stop outside of the reserve, I joked to my husband that I had some mosquito bites on the top of my head- maybe we were taking botflies too.  We laughed, and it was almost two weeks before we discovered that this was true.
Two weeks later our vacation was finished and we were back to our normal lives in San Pedro when the pain started.  Lots of people on this site have described it.  For me, it felt like there was something stabbing me repeatedly underneath the skin.  It would come and go, and I didn't know what to think of it.  My neighbor and my boss both told me it was a botfly- in Belize they call them "beef worms".  I guess I was in denial because I didn't do anything about it right off.
Meanwhile, I developed a serious case of bronchitis and several of my lymph glands started swelling. Maybe it was my body fighting off the foreign creature or maybe just coincidence. I went to a local doctor who treated the bronchitis and I showed the doc the botfly bumps.  He told me that it looked like the worms had already escaped and just to watch the bumps for a while. I spent the next week too consumed with my bronchitis to worry about the worms- but the pain would still come and go so I knew they had to be alive.
Week three and I had pretty much recovered from my denial and I had totally recovered from the bronchitis.  I knew I had worms in my head and started asking locals for remedies.  I got many suggestions that all involved ways to suffocate the flies and then squeeze them out- some suggested using tobacco, others Vaseline, others tape.  But, my husband was out of town that week and I was determined to wait for his return to help me squeeze them out.  The fact that I waited so long to get it over with shows that either I didn't want to face it or my pain, which was terrible, was not as bad as other people experienced on this site.
Finally, four weeks after we left Cockscomb Basin, my husband covered my bumps in tobacco.  Immediately, one started to wiggle (I could feel it squirming around) and my husband squeezed it out.  It popped right out and we stared at the little creature- a plump white worm with little black  dots all around.  And I do mean it POPPED out- I swear I could hear it. 
The others were not so easy.  We popped out four more that night that were not so eager to escape the tobacco. My husband had to push on my head with all his strength until I couldn't stand the pressure any more. Sometimes the little white tip of a tail would pop out and then go back under again.  If I may get really disgusting, one actually exploded half way out- we had to squeeze out the remainder of it separately.
I had a friend in from out of town, by the way, who was as excited as could be to witness this.  I felt like a lab specimen.
After a grueling two hours of pushing out worms, I washed my head, cleaned it with alcohol, and went to sleep- content that the botfly ordeal was over.  Withdrew away four of the little buggers and kept the fifth in a jar of alcohol and brought it to a local doctor the next day who confirmed that it was a botfly. My Belizean friends assured me that it was nothing to worry about.  It turns out that it is pretty common in the jungle areas of the mainland.
But, it was not over.  A week went by and I still had two large, painful bumps on the top of my head from which we had already squeezed botflies.  I just assumed (denial again?) that my skin was still recovering from its ordeal and did nothing about it. One night, over four weeks after our trip, we were sitting on the beach having a drink when I felt one of them wiggling again.  The pain was so intense that for a while I thought I might pass out.  "This ends tonight!" I told my husband, and we went back home for a second two hour session of botfly removal. Without any tobacco or Vaseline, my husband pushed two more botfly worms out that night for a grand total of seven. And these last two were ugly creatures- big fat worms, about twice the size of the first five.  I had to build up the guts to look at them.  One of them was still alive when it came out and we put it in a plastic bag filled with alcohol where it remained alive, wriggling and rolling around, for a few hours.
We squeezed each bump on my head with no more results-nothing else came out but puss.  Then I applied alcohol to the area for days afterwards- my Belizean friends told me that the most important thing to worry about is keeping the wound from becoming infected, especially if you use tobacco.
Since then, I wear a hat or a bandana on my head every time I go to jungle areas. 
-Carla

Also from Carla......I wanted to add, by the way, that there is a little
biology research center outside of Belmopan called
Monkey Bay- they let you set up a tent there and camp
(this is where we stayed when we had to got to
Belmopan or to the zoo).  Anyway, the woman who runs
this center told me that when she gives orientation to
the new students, she explains about the botfly and
says it is almost inevitable that someone will end up
with one each season.  So, she keeps a change jar or
some other little prize and gives it away to the first
student to give birth to a botfly- sort of to take the
terror out of the experience.  I thought that was a funny story.
We were living on the Cayes, but here are some links
for my favorite outdoors places in Belize:
Five Blues National Park: www.fiveblues.org
(little, but really quiet and pretty with above ground
caves and a nice lake. If you aren't driving you'll
have to walk in a few miles off the main highway, but
it is a pretty walk. The park is isolated and
beautiful, but both times we were there we came across other campers.)
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where I got my 7 worms: www.belizeaudubon.org/html/parks/cbws.html
(sprawling jungle, the best place in the country to bird watch and spot wildlife I think)

9-16-03
Hi,
My name is Funmi Somefun, I just got back from holiday with my husband and children. We had traveled to Nigeria in West Africa for 2weeks.
We had a wonderful time, most of the holiday was spent in a city called Ibadan and then we traveled back to Lagos just 2 days before coming back to London. The morning after the first night we spent in Lagos I noticed that my daughters shoulders had been bitten by what I had supposedly thought were mosquitoes. She had a total on four bites on this one arm which I found quite strange, by the afternoon of that same day she complained that the arm was itching in the area of the bite.
On arriving back to London, the bites had become quite swollen and from time to time she cried that the hand was hurting her by clutching her arm just beneath the areas of the bite. I also noticed she had been bitten also under the armpit of the other arm. I called in to see my Doc to explain my concern and to let him know that I think there were some pores in the bites not knowing what they really were. He gave us some antiseptic cream cause he couldn't really explain what it was.
Four days after arrival and nothing had happened and I had noticed my son also had been bitten on his side by his rib, I got pretty worried just wanting the boil or the pores to come out. My daughter however fell asleep on my legs that night and I tried to pinch open the biggest of this bites. To my amazement it seemed something was actually living that kept going back in, I was adamant and pressed harder and pulled this white with gray ring maggot out. I kept my calm and set to work on the four other bite and I pulled out a total of 5 maggots from my girl and 1 from my boy. 
I sent them to the Doc's today to get them on antibiotics but couldn't tell him the events of the last few days regarding the maggots for fear of my children being used for experiments. My only concern now is that the area is still hard and I do fear if there is anything left in their, we also had some water come out of the bitten area after the maggots had been pulled out alive.
I decided to carry out a research and saw your web site and the stories by other people, I will appreciate any advice you can give and a prompt reply on my email address below.
Thanks ever so much.
Funmi

September 29, 2003

It was funny, because we had watched a show on one of the nature channels that had a feature on the botfly just a few weeks before we noticed that the cat was infested. I thought it was one of the grossest stories I had ever seen and was happy that we live in the USA and didn't have cattle (the story placed them overseas or only in cattle here).

 
We live in the country so people are always dropping off their unwanted cats around our house. She is one of five that we feed, but they will not allow us to pet them. We could not catch her to get her to the vet. We just had to let whatever was happening to her happen. We didn't know it was a larva until it started coming out. The first to hatch had entered above her nose and took over her right eye socket. Her eye swelled up to about golf ball size. Her eyelid was sealed shut from the growth and the larva made a hole in her eyelid to come out. I just knew that she would have lost the use of her eye, but the exit wound healed and her eye seems to be fine (no discoloration and she follows movement with it). The second larva was on her chest. Of course, by the time that one starting getting big, we knew what to expect. It hatched last Fri. She is doing fine and healing well. From looking at pictures, it looks like the human larva is mostly white while the rabbit larva is dark gray/black. Using this as my diagnosis basis, it was a rabbit botfly. This is one of those stories that you are just dying to tell somebody, but at the same time, you realize how gross it will sound to most people.
 
Thanks for "listening."
Libby Sexton

washingtonpost.com

The Mystery of the Rain Forest Rash
She Wanted to Know What She'd Picked Up on Vacation. . .Until She Learned the Answer

By Christine C. Lawrence
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 11, 2003; Page HE01

This is the tale of a medical mystery. Four doctors were stumped by the clues: exotic travel, strange weeping sores, inexplicable pains, rampant rashes. Solving the mystery took a chance encounter at the library, an expert author and a physician who listened closely to the patient.
But we get ahead of ourselves. Before the happy ending is a story that is not always pretty. In fact, it gets downright gross.
The tale begins with the Eskinazis -- David and Michelle and their sons Michael, 13, and Andrew, 8 -- taking a trip to Costa Rica last April. The family spent some of their 10 days walking together on paths beneath the rain forest canopy, looking for monkeys and birds.
One day, Michelle Eskinazi -- a friend of mine, and the person who provided many of the details of this account -- went for a walk by herself and returned without incident. When she returned home to Bethesda, however, Eskinazi noticed two red bites, one on each leg. The bites became inflamed and began to ooze, sometimes a clear liquid, sometimes blood and sometimes a substance that looked like olive oil, light green in color. The area around the bites itched. Around each bite was a bright red ring with a poison-ivy-like rash.
That wasn't the worst of it.
"Sometimes it felt like something was moving inside the bite, and I had incredible stabbing pains, mostly at night," Eskinazi recalled.
She went to her internist, told him she had just returned from Costa Rica and showed him the swollen bites. "Tick bites," he said, mentioning the possibility of Lyme disease. He put her on antibiotics.
The bites continued to ooze. While taking Michael to another doctor for treatment of a bad case of poison ivy, Eskinazi showed her the bites. The doctor looked puzzled, spent 30 minutes looking through medical books and eventually put her on another antibiotic, this one for staph infection and Lyme disease.

Ticked Off
Weeks went by and the oozing persisted.
"I had to change pajamas and my sheets every day," Eskinazi said. "Even with Band-Aids and gauze covering the bites. These things oozed all over, I mean all over. I thought the bites needed to be lanced and drained."
"Actually, I was pretty sure it wasn't Lyme disease, as I had e-mailed the bed and breakfast in Costa Rica where we had stayed and told them about the bites," Eskinazi said. "They said there are no ticks that carry Lyme disease there."
So she called her internist again. He sent her to a dermatologist. The dermatologist spent about two minutes with her and said, "I'm an expert on this. You have an allergic reaction to a bite. Stop taking the antibiotics and it will go away in two weeks."
Eskinazi explained to him that she thought she had been bitten in the rain forest. Also, she told him she was feeling something moving at the site of each bite and that she had stabbing pains there, particularly at night.
The doctor pointed to his head. "I think it meant he thought I was crazy," she said.
He told her of a colleague he knew who urged patients with strange insect bites to place fatback on the bite.
Only later did Eskinazi realize that this seemingly nonsensical crazy-sounding story might well have been the solution to her problem.

The Ooze
More weeks went by. The bites had now swollen into half-inch blue-green mounds. The sharp, moving pain was more intense.
Eskinazi called the National Institutes of Health, looking for a doctor specializing in infectious diseases. But she was told that in order to be treated there, she needed to be either in the hospital or formally diagnosed with an infectious disease.
She tried her internist again, who said he was stumped.
She then called another dermatologist. This doctor -- a woman -- listened intently as Eskinazi described her symptoms, the other diagnoses, her trip to Costa Rica, her walk in the rain forest. The doctor took a look at the bites and admitted she was perplexed.
"But at least she listened to my tale of woe," Eskinazi said. "And she thought it was more serious than any of the other doctors." The dermatologist took a skin sample from one of the bites and sent it to a pathologist. The results showed nothing unusual.
Two months had now passed, the symptoms remained steadfast and Eskinazi was having trouble sleeping. Her husband and sons didn't want to look at the bites. She didn't want to look at them, either. They seemed somehow disconnected from her body. She continued to take an antibiotic but had no reason to believe it was doing any good.

It's in the Book
Disheartened, frustrated and exhausted, Eskinazi made a routine trip to the library, where a book lying on the return desk caught her eye: "The Travel Doctor: Your Guide to Staying Healthy While You Travel," by Mark Wise.
"I flipped through it and saw a section on Lyme disease and ticks, and thought I would take it home and see if I could find anything about my symptoms," she said.
"Of course, I'm reading through it right away and suddenly, in the chapter on 'Other Insect-Borne Diseases,' this sentence catches my eye: 'Myiasis -- This one is a bit disgusting,' " she said. "Well, that clearly describes my bites," Eskinazi recalled thinking.
"Myiasis is an infection of the skin caused by the larvae of certain flies that are present in the tropics," Wise's book reads. "The two main species are Dermatobia hominis (the human botfly) in South and Central America, and Cordylobia anthropophaga [the skin maggot or tumbu fly] in Africa. Most of the infections I've seen have been in travelers visiting the rain forests of Costa Rica and Belize.
"At the site of penetration, a boil-like lesion develops fairly rapidly. It will be tender and red. People often complain of transient, shooting pains in the lesion, as if there is something moving inside. There is! A tiny opening is usually visible at the top, through which the little maggot gets his, or her, air," the book says.

That Little Maggot
Astounded at the exact description of her plight, Eskinazi took the book's advice to suffocate the maggot. Wise suggests peanut butter, Vaseline or raw bacon (like the fatback that dermatologist had mentioned!).
After she coated each bite with peanut butter, Eskinazi said, a white, worm-like creature started to push through to the surface. She tried to pull it out with tweezers, but couldn't grasp it.
The next day she covered the bites with duct tape for an hour. "The pain was paralyzing," she said. "I yanked off the duct tape and saw a little white piece come out of the bite and tried again to yank it out. It was too quick and gross for me to do alone."
She called the woman dermatologist and told the receptionist she had diagnosed her bites.
"I have been bitten by a botfly," Eskinazi said. "I told her to look up myiasis in a medical book. The doctor called me back immediately and said to come in first thing the next day." Eskinazi brought the book with her, and the doctor told her she had made the correct diagnosis. "We need to cut them out," the doctor said.
After giving Eskinazi a local anesthetic, she opened the wound on the left leg with a tiny scalpel and removed long, gooey, white thin strings that looked like tiny worms. "Oh, my God," Eskinazi then heard her say, "will you look at this!"
Gingerly, the doctor asked Eskinazi, "Do you want to see what was inside?" After three months of frustration and pain, Eskinazi said, "Of course."
The doctor dangled a white, fat, striated worm from the end of the tweezers. It was about an inch long and a quarter-inch wide. "I couldn't believe the size of it, and neither could she," Eskinazi said. "Oh yuck," they said together.
The doctor then cut through the second bite and extracted an even larger worm.
When the procedure was over and the worms were floating in separate jars of preservative,
Eskinazi and the dermatologist agreed that they would each keep one. The doctor said she had never seen anything like it and hoped she never would again.
Eskinazi returned to the office of the first dermatologist, the one who had told her the bites were a allergic reaction.
"Look at what another dermatologist just removed from my leg," she told the receptionist, holding up the jar. "I thought the doctor might want to see it, since he told me the bites were nothing." The receptionist hurried to the back of the office, returning to tell Eskinazi she would be charged a $15 co-payment to see the doctor. Eskinazi refused and stormed from the office.
She went home and e-mailed Wise. She told him that his book had solved a mystery that had confounded four doctors. Wise was also interested in seeing the worm. As he wrote in his section on the human botfly, "If you do end up with one of these things, take it out and send it to me. I have a little museum."
The Eskinazi family left Bethesda this summer and moved to Charleston, S.C. While packing up their belongings, one mover let out a yelp and held up the small jar with the worm floating in it.
"What in the world is this?" he asked.
"Well, it's a long and not a pleasant story," Eskinazi told him. "But that thing came out of my right leg."•

Christine C. Lawrence is a writer in Bethesda.


December 1, 2003

This was truly a one of a kind experience!  One I hope to never repeat!  My wife (Cheryl), four friends and I took a cruise in the first week of November.  On the third day of the cruise (November 4) we stopped in Belize where we did cave tubing, which included a short walk through the forest.  I don't specifically remember getting bit by any mosquitoes, but on the return home (November 9) I recall having a handful of itchy "bumps" on my scalp.  Of course, I simply assumed that they were mosquito bites, and, although Mom always told me not to as a kid, I scratched them until they would bleed a bit.  The itching subsided a little during the following week, but the next weekend they were again quite annoying and itchy.  Also, I noticed a hard bump behind my left ear (which I now know is one of my lymph nodes).  It was not itchy, but was a bit tender.  Cheryl insisted that I call the doctor to get checked out since it was worrying her.  On the other hand I was not yet alarmed i!
 n any way until two days later (Tuesday, November 18) when I woke up during the night with a burning pain in my scalp.
While I somewhat attributed the pain to my "bumps," I began to wonder if this could be an early sign of the big C.  Quite an unpleasant thought at the very least. At this point I began thinking of whether my life insurance policy was enough.  That is, given the combination of the burning and the bump behind my ear.
Needless to day, I called my primary Doc on Wednesday afternoon, who said he could get me in on Monday.  I thought. Hmmm, five days could be a long time if I have to deal with that pain, but since the stabbing pain had not returned on Wednesday (yet!), I figured the previous night's fun may not be too much to be alarmed over.  As such, on Wednesday I dealt with the itch that flared up occasionally, and did note that the hard bump behind my ear had increased a bit in size along with the five bumps on my scalp.  Also, I now had lymph nodes visibly protruding out from the left side of my neck.  Regarding the size of the bumps, the one behind my ear had increased to the size of a pencil eraser, while the ones on my head were about 2 cm in diameter and stood up about 1 cm.  Again, I was still under the impression that these were just some Belizian mosquito bites that I had annoyed with all my scratching.
Wednesday night:  imagine sleeping soundly, comfortable in a warm bed, refueling your body with its required sleep, simply happy in that most relaxed state.  Nice.  Now, slam the door shut on that coziness!  I woke up to the most painful burning sensation I have EVER experienced.  The only thing I can equate this pain to would be the feeling of someone drilling into your head with a red-hot, acid-dipped drill bit.  I ran to the bathroom and tried looking in the mirror to see what was happening.  Cheryl and I looked with two mirrors angled so that I could see that nothing was wrong with my head.  I put ice on the bumps, I washed my head in water, but there was no relief.  The burning would subside for 30 seconds and then flare up again.  I pressed on the bumps trying to push the pain away, but it would get even worse upon stopping.  The pain finally stopped after fifteen minutes, so we went back to bed.  As you can imagine I was almost afraid to go back to sleep.  However, I did and woke two more times during the night with the same experiences.
On Thursday morning (November 20) I noticed that the left side of my head was swollen and the hard bump behind my ear was disappearing beneath the swelling.  I dealt with the pain flare-ups throughout Thursday at work.  I discovered that the only thing to ease the pain was to yank on the hair around the area of the "bites."  Yes, I too, thought I was going insane from some infection I received in my head.  However, now, there were pools of blood around the bumps that were forming large scabs.  Thursday night was as bad as Wednesday.
After my Friday morning shower I looked in the mirror and, aside from the fact that the left side of my face was clearly more swollen it appeared that my left ear was flared outward.  I asked Cheryl to look at me to see if she saw anything wrong.  After laughing for way too long, she said that my ear was sticking out.  I contacted my doctor, explained that my symptoms were getting worse, and that I could not wait until Monday.  I asked if he could see me today or if I should simply go to a walk in clinic.  He suggested the walk in clinic (note:  I will be changing doctors).  Upon examination at the walk in, the on duty Doc (Dr. "B") concluded that I had cellulitus of the scalp (skin infection).  However, he did make note of my travel to Belize and that further investigation may be needed.  I was sent home with 10 days of antibiotic.  I experienced random flare-ups on Saturday and Sunday.  There was green and yellow mucus infection fluid oozing from each of the sites.  Monday!
  the infection traveled to my forehead giving me a slight Frankenstein resemblance.  By the following Friday (November 28), the burning had become more intermittent (or I was simply getting accustomed to it).  The infection oozing had ceased and all of the swelling had subsided.
I returned that evening to the same walk in and consulted with the on duty Doc (Dr. "L").  He concluded that the infection was gone, but the bumps were odd in that they had not healed at all.  A quick blood test indicated that my blood count was normal.  He cultured the oozing fluid and said he'd have results on Sunday.  On Sunday he called and said the culture came back negative.  However, my case perplexed him over the weekend and, based on notes that Dr. B wrote during my first visit to the walk in, decided to do some investigation.  In short, he told me that he believed I had bot fly larvae under my scalp.  He gave me all the same detail that I've now read on the Internet (transmitted on mosquitoes, random burning, etc.).  At his request I saw him at the walk in again to view the sites for confirmation of his research.
He offered the usual solutions:  wait for them to leave on their own (No way!), have them surgically removed (hmmm, doesn't sound much better), put ground meat on the sites and wait for the bastards to leave (Now I'm hungry), or pack petroleum jelly on the sites requiring them to come out for air.  I opted for the last method since it seemed to be the easiest option.  He also prescribed another 7 days of antibiotic to be on the safe side.
Let's just say Cheryl took some deep breaths at all this knowledge.  Armed with her Vaseline she went to work on my scalp.  It was about 15 minutes later when the burning came back, which I now understand that this is when the little guys are moving around.  However, they weren't running out of my head, as I expected.  In fact it wasn't until a few hours later that they were peaking out to get some air.  Upon discovery of Brenda and Mark's website and the many links, I thought it would be best to squeeze these nasty buggers from their little homes.  As I said before, this was a one of a kind experience.
After some blood, white liquid spatter, and cursing, I was able to produce five of those nasty little spiked maggots between 8 and 9 p.m. last night!  In retrospect it's rather funny at how these things popped out in the way that others have mentioned.  I don't know if we got better toward the end, but the last couple popped out of my head and hit the bathroom mirror with such force that the spatter left a very impressionable mess.  In fact, after the last one was out Cheryl thought it would be a wonderful idea to take some footage of the thing with our camcorder.  I don't think I'll be reviewing that tape anytime soon!
Overall, the experience is one that I would not like to repeat.  I did have relief with the knowledge that these things were not deadly, but I do wish I discovered the information sooner because I wouldn't have had to endure the pain for as long as I did.

Ed Tudino


December 3, 2003

Sounds like I have alot more company than I would have expected. I visited Belize and returned with 3 bot fly larvae. They all grew at about the same rate because they began wiggling and chewing at the same time one night. The pain kept me awake for 2 nights. The locations were swelling rapidly and very red. My hand was so swollen that I could not close my fingers. The only way I could stop the pain was to slap the places. (One on back of arm, one on back of hand and one on hip). Finally went to Dr. because I could see moving under the skin. Fortunately they knew what it was despite being in Vermont, a beautiful place that does not breed bot fly. Thank you Fletcher Allen Hospital and Univ.of Vermont Medical School. Tried using bacon but the bots liked fresh flesh rather than salted pork. Had them surgically removed. Phew. That was 2 years ago. Two weeks ago I found a deer tick in my scalp that was removed and I was treated with antibiotics to prevent Lyme Disease. I'm a 60 year old active woman who loves exploring the outdoors just about anywhere. I suppose that if you love the great outdoors, you have to love all of it.!


 Dec. 23, 03 Johany wrote this article for a magazine which said it was too gruesome in context to use. She is now searching for another publication to print it. If you know of anyone please email her at address below.

Johany DeMarco        
5 Crestview Road               
Bethel, CT 06801             
(203) 791-9652
johanyjohn@yahoo.com                
First serial rights About 3,490 words         

GOT BOT
By Johany DeMarco

            There’s an insect nominated as the most disgusting, most vile, most revolting insect ever to fly on the face of this planet.  And it comes straight to you (I mean that literally) from the tropics of Central and South America.  You might want to keep a fly swatter nearby.  After you read this, it might really come in handy.

THE BOT FLY SONG

It cheerfully burrows way under your skin

Where it wiggles, lays eggs, its hooks sure do pinch!

Sooner or later its bound to come out

Out pops the maggot, how many?  You lose count!

CHORUS:

It’s Bot Fly.  It’s Bot Fly

The worst of its kind

It’s Bot Fly.  It’s Bot Fly

You’re in for a bind

It’s Bot Fly.  It’s Bot Fly

They’re the worst of its race

I’d rather have pimples all over my face.

            Bot Flies not only make great songs to sing around a campfire on a cold and crispy night, but they also come in all sorts of varieties to meet your every individual need.

            There’s the Nose Bot Fly, also known as head maggots, which can’t get enough of sheep's and goats and other hoofed animals.  This grayish fly, about 15 millimeters long, deposits living maggots in the nostrils of sheep's.  The larvae, or maggots, crawl up sheep’s noses and remain in the sinuses for 8 to 10 months where they’re sneezed out of sheep’s nostrils.  The larvae pupates into an adult in the soil with the pupal period lasting 3 weeks or more, depending on the temperature outside.  Adults then emerge from the pupa and may live as long as 28 days.  Sheep's under attack from Bot Flies will run, gather in groups with heads down and rub their noses on the ground to prevent Bot Flies from laying their eggs.  These repugnant flies can cause blindness, severe head shaking, teeth gritting, and loss of appetite on these poor and innocent sheep.

            Then there’s the Horse Bot Fly.  These Bot Flies favorite pastime is laying their eggs on horse’s knees, lip hairs, jaws, cheeks, and horse’s food.  When the horses eat the egg-infested food, maggots hatch inside the horse’s stomach and intestines where they irritate the mucous linings of the intestines, rectum, and anus, making horses restless.  Some of the maggots crawl their way up the horse’s throat and into the horse’s mouth where they happily invade the tongue, gums, and mouth lining of the horse.  These happy little maggots party like there’s no tomorrow for 7 to 10 months on a major food binge!

            But the winner of the prestigious “Revolting Insect of the Year Award” goes to our dear friend, the Human Bot Fly, for its sincere demonstration of love and compassion towards the human race.  These pesty flies are very good at what they do.  They’re the Navy Seals of the insect world.  Human Bot Flies are not your average housefly.  They are scientifically classified as Dermatobia hominis, or myiatic flies.  You’re probably asking yourself what in the world does myiatic hominis mambo jumbo mean?  I don’t think you’ll be thrilled to know, but hey, because I’m such a nice person, I’ll tell you anyway.

            Since these guys are myiatic, they don’t waste time frolicking in your garbage cans.  They go directly to the source, and yes my dear friends, their favorite food on the menu is you!  In this article we will discover together the wonderful world of Human Bot Flies.  You will share in the joys of maggot birth and the miracle of puberty as these magnificent flies eject ceremoniously from underneath your skin and open their eyes for the very first time.

            Human Bot Flies are not tiny flies.  They’re pretty large and are nearly the size of bees.  They have a yellowish head, huge bluish-black thorax or body, with orange legs and brown wings.  These flies have an extremely powerful urge to reproduce.  If they were to fly towards you, not only would you hear their annoying buzz and notice how big they are, but you also would immediately try squashing them with your shoe.

            As you’ll soon find out, Bot Flies are not only cunning, they’re gifted with an IQ equal to Einstein.  They know the impending doom that awaits them if they’re seen flying in your home, let alone near you.  So what do they do?  They fly out and seek a mosquito or tick.  The lower their IQ count the better.  The Bot Fly then holds the mosquito’s wings to prevent it from escaping.  It then glues about 15 to 30 eggs at a time on the abdomen of the bloodsucking mosquito.  When the Bot Fly lets go of the mosquito’s wings, the mosquito flies away carrying the Bot Fly eggs.  The mosquito then prepares for landing on your warm body.  As the mosquito sucks on your blood, your body heat begins to hatch the Bot Fly eggs on the abdomen of the mosquito.  Once the eggs hatch and the mosquito takes off to find more blood to suck on, the tiny baby maggots burrow into your skin.  It takes about 5 to 60 minutes for these baby maggots to burrow completely under your skin, either through a hole they make for themselves or through the bite hole made by the mosquito.  You won’t even feel a thing, not yet anyway.

            These baby maggots position themselves head down inside your skin with 2 oral hooks which they use to tear your tissue while they feed on you.  The rows of curved spines along their body help anchor the maggots onto your skin.  While the maggots feed on you they make a hole in your skin so they can breathe and excrete waste.  For 6 to 8 weeks the maggots begin to grow big and strong, munching deliciously away on you.  As they mature, you’ll begin to develop sores that itch like crazy.  These itchy sores will then develop into egg-size painful boil-like sores that house the growing maggots and often ooze.  You will then feel a stabbing painful feeling due to the maggots tearing off your tissue while feeding and from their spines irritating your tissue as they squirm around.  You’ll be able to see and feel the maggots move and wiggle under your skin.  How gross!  Once the maggots grow fairly large, they will eat their way out of your skin where they fall to the ground and continue to pupate into adult flies.  The entire horrible life cycle, from birth to adult, takes around 3 months.

The legendary explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, who ventured into the unknown tropical wilderness of South America, wrote about these Human Bot Flies.  The natives called them “Sututus.”  Let us allow Colonel Fawcett to relate his encounter with the Sututus.

            “Sututus were another trial for some of us: these are the grubs of a moth or mosquito which, after hatching from eggs left on the shirt, immediately bury themselves under the skin-usually on the back.  The little brutes could not be extracted until the sore they made was “ripe,” and even then it was an art to get them, for on being molested they clung to the flesh with sharp mandibles.  Tobacco juice sometimes helped, but killing them under the surface could bring on blood poisoning.  Later on, the Indians undertook the cure in their own way.  They would make a curious whistling noise with their tongues, and at once the grub’s head would issue from the blowhole.  Then the Indian would give the sore a quick squeeze, and the invader was ejected.”

            There’s a wonderful site on the Web where people who’ve had encounters with the Human Bot Fly can post their horrible stories.  Brenda and Mark Johnstone officially started the website after Brenda’s husband Mark was bitten not once but twice in the scrotum.

            On November 24th, 2000 Mark and Brenda remember traveling to Costa Rica to observe the magnificent Volcano Arenal eruption from the Los Lagos observatory.  At night, while Mark is changing his clothes, he feels a mosquito bite on his scrotum.  Right away he begins to experience a strange pain in his scrotum.  When he mentions it to Brenda they both talk about what on earth it could be, whether it’s a spider bite or an infected mosquito bite.

            Brenda remembers reading something in the guidebook Explore Costa Rica by Harry S. Pariser, from their first honeymoon trip to Costa Rica.  The author mentions in the book a strange bug called the “Bot Fly (Dermatobia hominis), whose larvae mature inside flesh.  An egg-laden female botfly captures a night-flying female mosquito and glues her eggs on to it.  When the mosquito is released and bites a victim, the host’s body heat triggers an egg to hatch.  It falls off and burrows in.  The larva secures itself with two anal hooks, secreting an antibiotic into its burrow, which staves off competing bacteria and fungi.  Its spiracle pokes out of the tiny hole, and a small mound forms which will grow to the size of a goose egg before the mature larva falls out.

            Should you be unfortunate enough to fall prey to a larvae- an extremely unlikely occurrence for the average visitor- you have three cures available.  One is to use acrid white sap of the matatorsalo (bot killer), which kills the larva but leaves its corpse intact.  Another is to apply a piece of soft, raw meat to the top of the air hole.  As the maggot must breath, it burrows upward into the meat.  A third is to apply a generous helping of Elmer’s glue or cement to the hole.  Cover this with a circular patch of adhesive tape; seal this tape with a final application of glue.  Squeeze out the dead larva the next morning.  The only other alternative is to leave it to grow to maturity, giving you an opportunity to experience the transmogrification of part of yourself into another creature.  It only hurts when the maggot squirms and if you swim, presumably because you are cutting off its air supply.  Don’t try to pull it out because it will burst.  Part of its body will remain inside and cause an infection.”

            Brenda knows right away what is bothering Mark.  They go online to find more information on the Bot Fly with no success.  When they return home Mark begins to notice 2 lumps in his scrotal skin, causing him severe and intense shooting pain throughout his scrotum and perineum.

            Brenda makes Mark an appointment with their general doctor.  After looking Mark over, the doctor says Mark has lice and prescribes him lice medicine!  An 8 year old can tell you the difference between lice and something that isn’t!  If it’s tiny, hops around and does cartwheels on your skin, then yeah, it’s probably lice.  Lice do not cause excruciating throbbing pain.  People with Bot Fly larvae embedded under the skin have not only been misdiagnosed by doctors, but also labeled as crazy and told they watch too much Sci-Fi on TV.  Doctors should really listen to their patients and educate themselves on this matter

On December 17th, 2000 Brenda brings Mark to the emergency room after a painful episode.  While Mark sits on the examining table, a lady doctor picks up Mark’s chart and says, “I’m not touching that!”   Wait a minute.  I thought it was lice?

             Hours go by.  A doctor finally arrives and Mark and Brenda tell him their horrible story.  The doctor stares skeptically at them and asks, “What other doctors are you seeing?  Are you on any kind of medication?”  The doctor then excuses himself and tells them he has to make a call to the Urologist concerning the matter at hand.

            What does the doctor really do?  He hurries to his computer and types the word “Bot Fly” on the Internet search engine.  Brenda sneaks up behind him and says,” There is a lot more information on the net if you want me to show you where it is at!”

            The doctor, taken by surprise, turns around and defends himself saying the Urologist is on his way.  It’s obvious the doctor did not know what Mark had.  If doctors don’t know they should say so.

            Dr. Michael Rashid, MD Resident of Urology, enters the scene shortly after.  Dr. Rashid believes Brenda and Mark’s story, even though he is somewhat skeptical.  They set an appointment for Tuesday, December 19.  When the day comes, Dr. Gabriel Rodriguez, MD and Assistant Professor of Urology, examines Mark.   Off they go to the operating room where vasectomies are usually performed.  Brenda is allowed to be with Mark during the operation.

            After Mark is prepped for surgery, the doctor, with Mark’s consent, takes photos of the sores.  Dr. Rodriguez tells Mark he has to cut deeper into the tissue.  All of a sudden, Dr. Rodriguez’s jaw drops open in surprise.  He exclaims, “It’s alive!” and tells the attending nurse to get a container and drop the Bot Fly maggot inside.

            While the nurse is checking out the maggot, Mark tells the nurse, “I read on the internet that those things can jump 6 feet!”

            The nurse quickly slams the lid tight on the container and sets it down.  Brenda takes the container and brings it over to Mark.  They both watch the large maggot squirm and wiggle about.  The doctor closes up the area in Mark’s scrotum and begins to get ready for Bot Fly #2.

            When they extract Bot Fly #2 it is still alive, obviously enraged that it was taken out of a cozy and warm environment.  All this reminds Brenda and Mark of the movie Alien.  Brenda says how one day Mark is complaining on how uncomfortable the stitches are.  She simply tells him, “Well now you have a little knowledge of what childbirth is like.”

“Yes, but I had twins!” Mark replies.

            Mark has healed and is doing fine.  They even have a special poem written to the version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Bryan Springer about their ordeal.  Their website on Bot Fly stories is a must read!  It helps educate the unknown public about these vicious pests.

            If you ever find yourself traveling to the tropics of Central and South America and you feel a Bot Fly maggot crawling under you skin, here are some proven remedies that will help get rid of your new friend.

HOW TO GET RID OF YOUR BOT FLY (without doctor intervention)

1)       Pray that God reverse time so when you wake up in the morning this terrible nightmare never took place.

2)       Try super glue, not Elmer’s school glue.  One person who was bitten by the Bot Fly on his head used Elmer’s glue and found these maggots could eat and still breathe through the dried glue.  He and his partner suggest you try superglue instead because when you slob it on it dries fast.  When they peeled back the superglue they found part of the maggot sticking out trying to gasp for air.  They advice the surest way to get them out is to squeeze them out.  One maggot shot 2 feet into the air after being squeezed!   5 maggots were squeezed out from this person’s scalp through the superglue application.

3)       Take a little tobacco or heavy camphorated oil soaked in a small cotton ball and place it over the maggot vent hole with tape.  When the worm comes out 8 hours later pull off the tape and the worm comes out with it.

4)       Apply Tiger Balm to every mosquito bite.  Tiger Bam is rich in camphor.

5)       Epsom Salt.  One person infected by Bot Flies soaked in a tub of very hot water with Epsom salt for 45 minutes before going to bed.  To his surprise, the next morning the 2 bites he thought were spider bites had dead maggots sticking out, making it easier for him to extract them.

6)       Injecting Hydrogen Peroxide on the bite forces the little critters to come out.

7)       One person bitten by the Bot Fly says applying Icthamol, also known as pine tar, works great.  She says after you apply the pine tar, bandage the area and remove it in 2 days.   2 maggots were drawn out this way.

8)       Apply a very thick layer of Vaseline.  When the maggot’s body is poking out of the hole, quickly grab the maggot by the base and tug it out in one large movement.

9)       Squeezing the maggot out without killing it first is a bad idea because these nasty creatures have hooks that hold it strongly in place.  You also run the risk of splitting the maggot in half.  If that happens, the chance of you getting an infection is high.

10)     The Coke bottle suffocation method.  Light a cigarette.  When you blow the smoke into a Coke bottle hold it over the breathing hole and wait for the larvae to poke its head out of the hole to get some fresh air.  Once you see its head poking out place your thumbs around the hole, apply intense pressure, and push like there’s no tomorrow.   Watch out though.  These maggots are known to shoot 6 to10 feet or more into the air when they’re squeezed out!  You can also use forceps or large tweezers to extract the maggots out.

11)    And the best way to remove Bot Fly maggots is not to remove them at all!  Let it complete its life cycle and fall out on its own!  There have been obsessed Entomologists who have purposely placed Bot Fly maggots on themselves in order to get a good specimen of an adult larvae, which is rarely captured, for their collection.  This might be taking their profession a little too far, what do you think.

Every year returning tourists from the tropics of Central and South America

unknowingly bring home with them a new friend.  Think of it as a free souvenir.  Air travel has been the best way for Bot Flies to sneak into other countries and by-pass metal detectors at the airport without being suspected.  People could be in another part of the world before the maggot has completed its breathtaking life cycle.  As a result, this can cause the accidental introduction of an exotic species of fly into that country.  What a great way to make new friends!

            How do you protect yourself from Bot Flies?  You can place a sterile plastic bubble around you and your home and never venture outdoors, but that wouldn’t be much fun now, would it?

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest you do the following in avoiding mosquito bites, which remember, can carry Bot Fly eggs!

1)       Apply 30-35% DEET insect repellent to exposed skin every 3 to 4 hours when outdoors.  You wouldn’t want one of those eggs hatching on your nose.

2)       Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants if you are outdoors at night.  And don’t forget to wear a hat.  You wouldn’t want to suffer sleepless nights due to maggots squirming and moving under your scalp!  It has happened.

3)       Spray an insecticide or DEET repellent on your clothing.  Mosquitoes are known to bite through thin clothing.

4)       Spray the insecticide Pyrethrin or something similar all over your bedroom before going to bed.

5)       Use a mosquito net over the bed if your bedroom is not air-conditioned or screened.  Spray the net with the insecticide Permethrin for additional protection.

Next time you travel to Central and South America, please don’t forget to carry your bug spray, unless you’re looking to make new friends.  Carrying a fly swatter with you at all times is not a bad idea.  If you don’t you never know.  The one fly you shooed away after it bit you could have been carrying Bot Fly eggs.  Surprise!  In a couple of weeks you might be giving birth to a beautiful pair of healthy twins!  Welcome to parenthood!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fawcett, Colonel Percy Harrison.  Lost Trails, Lost Cities.  Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1953.

Wilkins, Harold T.  Secret Cities of Old South America.  Adventures Unlimited Press, Illinois, 1952.

PROFESSIONAL WEB SITE

Campos Pereira, M.  University of Sao Paulo:  Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Parasitology.  1 March 2003

< http://icb.usp.br/~marcelcp/Dermatobia.htm>.

Department of Natural Resources, State Michigan.  Warbles.  3 March 2003

<http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26354--,00.html>.

Goodman, R.M. Montalvo, B. Reed, F. Scribbick, C, McHugh, R. Beatty, and R. Aviles.  Casado Internet Group.  Bot Flies, aka torsalo or Dermatobia hominis.  26 February 2003 http://www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/botfly.html>.

Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  Order Diptera.  4 March 2003 http://www.cvm.oakstate.edu/instruction/kocan/vpar5333/533ot5aa.htm>.

Department of Medical Entomology.  Exotic Myiasis.  Non-Biting Flies.  2 March 2003

<http://medent.usyd.edu.au/fact/nonbitingflies.htm>.

<http://medent.usyd.edu.au/fact/myiasis.html>.

Vandevelde, Alexander G. M.D.  Malaria Prevention: A Serious Matter for the Tropical Traveler.  February 1997.

<http://www.dcmsonline.org/jax-medicine/1997journals/feb97/malaria.htm>.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL WEB SITE

Johnstone, Brenda and Mark.  Home Page.  <http://www.vexman.com/botfly.htm>.

Botfly Stories. <http://vexman.com/stories.htm>.


April 9, 2004

As I write to you from the comfort of my home in Seattle, Washington, I can feel the movement of a botfly inside my left leg. It is a botfly, I tell you. I have utter certainty that it is a botfly.  Approximately one hour ago my wife and I saw, in terror, how botfly number 1 stuck its head out of my skin, proceeding to jump out of my leg in such a surprising manner, that made my wife get on her feet in a fraction of a second. In fact, botfly number 1 is in a container sitting on my desk, next to my computer as I type. Ironically, the container we were able to find right away to place the larvae was the container of the antibiotic that the infectious disease specialist prescribed. My wife placed the remaining pills in a glass. They were handy because both glass and antibiotic were sitting on the night stand.  

I call the nurse of the first hospital I went to. The answering service takes the call. Apparently the nurse is not available, but he will get a doctor. My regular doctor calls me back. She happens to be on-call. I talked to her roughly four weeks ago. I went to see her soon after I returned from my trip in Belize had been kayaking in the southern Cays. She did not sound very happy that I had called her so late at night. I remembered immediately that is the first of the three doctors that misdiagnosed the insect bite and prescribed celophaxin to get rid off the bacterial infection, and of myself at the same time. Her reaction after I described how the botfly emerged from my leg, her voice conveyed more sympathy. My unhappiness about remembering her misdiagnosis and her quick dismissing of my concerns for something more serious during my first visit (almost) vanished. I have had bacterial infections, ticks, and other tropical bugs before. I am a biologist and did field work in tropical areas. This :infection" was different. Just like the other stories, those who have botfly know it is not your usual insect bite. It hurts and bleeds unlike anything else I have ever seen. Indeed, when we came back from Belize I had many insect bites. All of them were gone two weeks after, except for the botfly snorkel.
It was vindicating to hear my doctor talk after describing the larvae. I had the bugger right in front of my eyes. It was almost satisfying to hear in return an honest and clear acceptance that she had no clue what just came out of my leg. At least now I have the living proof. She suggested to contact the Travel Clinic at the University. I had also gone there. They too missed the diagnosis. She is out of ideas. She tell me to wait until tomorrow. I did what every desperate person would do in these situations: I went online. 
After reading your story on Mark's experience with botflies, and the other stories, I have to conclude that those of us who have experienced botflies seem to want (need) to share the stories.  I made the positive ID when I saw the pictures you posted. I returned to the bedroom and proudly announced to my wife: It is Dermatobia hominis. My wife called her parents right away. I resisted because of the time difference with my parents and siblings. I cannot wait to tell them tomorrow morning, after hopefully botfly number 2 (and number 3...4?) come out. I am also printing your story to share at work. Before I do that, of course, I will pay a visit to the infectious disease specialist in the morning. I have hosted these bugs long enough. He may want to see botfly number 1.  I am writing late at night. Anyway, thank you for sharing the story.

I emailed and asked if it was OK to post his email...his reply.

Hi Brenda,
Yes. I would really like to have the story in your website. Can I
elaborate on it a bit more? I promise to make it too long or
embellish it.  I would need a few hours since I am going to my
doctor's office to have them removed the other larva. I am positive
it is there. I cannot bear the thought of being its host for another
day.
I do a travel piece on an early morning radio show. I talked about
the botfly, and it was amazing how many people called in to relate
other stories and ask questions about the botfly. You see, my show is
in Spanish, and people from central America may be more familiar with
botflies than north Americans. I grew up in Mexico City where insects
are not particularly abundant, certainly not botflies.
As you, I also hope the stories inform and help people and (very
importantly) physicians to recognize the infestation. In retrospect,
I cannot believe that my family doctor, the specialist at the
University travel clinic and the infectious disease specialist of a
mayo metropolitan (hence perhaps the problem) miss diagnose the
botfly. I had all the typical symptoms. All it takes I think is to
listen to the patient. I wish they would emphasize that aspect of
practicing medicine. Do not you think?
Thanks again. By the way, most of my colleagues at (my more real)
work got very interested on the topic. The larvae is still alive
(safely keep in a closed container) and they all got to see it. I was
surprised my family did not move to the guest room last night. She
made me put a large band-aid to cover the bite to prevent any
possible escape on the parto of my host...
As I type this message to you, I can feel "something" in my left leg.
At least now I know what it is.
Ciao.


April 12, 2004

Hello Brenda,

I am currently traveling in Peru and have been at your website just about everyday for the past week.  I have been infested with a botfly from the Amazon of northern Bolivia.  I was in the jungle about three weeks ago and after leaving, the boil formed with the sharp pains and fluids excreting from the hole.  I went to a doctor in Cusco, Peru who gave me a bunch of antibiotics that didn't work.  While hiking the Inca Trail to MachuPichu, one of our porters had lived in the jungle of Peru and identified the boil as Sututu, the name of the parasite in the native dialect.  He applied tar from tobacco for two consecutive days and the final night he pulled out something that he said was it along with some pus. 
I was grateful and the thing began to heal, but not completely.  It kept on itching and after a couple days I applied a glob of antibiotic ointment and left it tightly covered for a day.  I uncovered it that night and slept.  The hole had scabbed over.  The next morning it was really itching and I ran to the bathroom to pull off the scab to find more pus and a thing emerge that looked like the pictures on your site.  I saved it but it dried up.  I also don't know if it was the whole thing.  Anyways, with the boil and hole back in place, I believe that there is another one in there.  It has been itching and stinging from time to time, but with all of my efforts to suffocate it, nothing has emerged.  The boil is significantly smaller than it ever was, but I'm not convinced that its out of there.  I feel part of the bug may have remained inside and it is not healing because it is infected.  I do not want to go to the  hospital here in Peru because they will either inject medicine into it to kill it or cut it open.  I have also thought about applying camphor oil soaked in a cotton ball.  I plan to wait though and give it air to see if it heals like a normal cut or infection.  If it grows I know there is one in there and alive.  Any suggestions?  This thing is really annoying.  Thank you for your web site.  It has done more than any doctor. 
Rich

My reply to Rich.... 

Richard,
Thanks for writing. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to remove the larva's, but if an infection occurs you should see a doctor. They say if it is not totally removed an infection will happen. Never heard from anyone before that has gotten an infection so keep me posted. Covering up the air hole with Vaseline and having a tight Band-Aid on it seems to be the most usefully way of getting them out.
Do you mind if I put your story on the website with the other?
Brenda Johnstone

His reply....

Hello Brenda,
Thanks for your response.  Sure you can put my story on the web.  My girlfriends mom got some good pictures so I will try to get them to you as soon as I can.  Also, I did not find this information on your site, but learned from the people down here that another way to get botfly is to leave you clothes outside during the night.  The fly lays eggs on the clothing and when you put them on, the eggs get on your skin.  I learned this when it was too late.  During the week I spent in the Bolivian Amazonian jungle, I left my clothes out to dry every night! 
As for my lesion, I believe we killed the larva a week and a half ago, but one came out exactly a week ago from my arm (there could have been two).  The bump has shrunken in size, but is still there.  The hole has scabbed over but the thing still itches.  How long do these things usually take to go away?  I wonder if part of the larva is still in th! ere or if it just takes a long time to finally heal over and go away.
Thanks again for your help.   
Rich

 Note from Brenda Johnstone* The area in blue is something I have not heard about with Bot flys before but wanted folks to be aware of! 


July, 7 2004
We extracted a Botfly larva from the neck of a kitten with a VACUUM PUMP and a piece of clear flexable hose.  We placed one end of the hose on the pump and the other end on the hole in the neck of the kitten.  In two seconds the Botfly larva was sucked out of the hole, in it's entirety, with no pain nor invasion to the kitten.  We then placed Triple Antibotics on and around the hole. In a few short hours the kitten was playing with his siblings again.  One week later, the kitten is healed and doing fine.     
  Charles & Janice Mielke 

I emailed them and asked a few questions, below is the corespondence......

Hi Brenda,
We come from a place called Vineland, New Jersey.  It's in the southern part of New Jersey about halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey.  It's farm country.  Charles & Janice Mielke  I don't know what kind of a Bot Fly it is, however it looks just like the pictures sent in by Robert Barbutti.  The only difference is that our Bot Fly was just as long on the other side of the black rings, however it had just been sucked out and was all stretched out.
    I got an email from Dr. Frank Slansky, Professor of Entomology.  He thought that our method of extracting the Bot Fly was novel, however he was concerned that if the suction was too strong such that it would rupture inside of the cavity (basically the animal's body wall) as the larva was sucked out, possibly injuring the animal and wanted details on the vacuum pump.  He also wanted to know what state and date the larva was detected since it is relatively unusual for a cat/kitten to get infested.  I will send you the information that I sent him, if you are interested.
 
From Charles and Janice Mielke.  Our method to remove a Bot Fly from our kitten.  I have a 1/8 horse power belt drive Cenco Scientific Vacuum Pump (very old unit) with a piece of 3/8" OD clear soft plastic tubeing apx. 3' long.  The tube fit nicely over the fitting that was threaded into the valve.  I cracked the valve open slightly and with my wife holding the kitten I held the open end onto the hole in the kitten with my left hand.  The plastic can be squeezed shut when we suck the larva out.  This took 2 seconds.   Charles
 
    The larva was sucked about 8" up the tube.  The kitten squarmed only once (apparently the Bot Fly larva didn't want to let go) at that point it was sucked out, intact.  Procedure done!  Kitten relieved and happy!  The larva was approximately 3/4 to 1" long and about 1/4" in diameter.  It was white, long and pointed at both ends with two or three black spotted rings around the middle.  Janice
 
                                                          OUR STORY
    I noticed that the kitten wasn't as active as its siblings lately.  On Thursday evening (7/1/04) I noticed that the kitten was very lethargic and had wet fur on its neck.  The next morning (7/2/04) the kitten was crying and lethergic.  It appeared to me to be crying for help.  I picked it up and it cried, so I put it down, and it cried.  I noticed that its neck was still wet, so I decided to investigate.  I saw a hole in its neck and immediately thought that a male cat tried to kill it as it is a male kitten also.  I immediately called my husband.  As he prepared to doctor it up, I took a good look at the hole and saw something popping in and out.  I immediately thought that it was a magot.  My husband confermed this.  After we extracted it I called the Vet., and he said that it was a Cuterebra.  So I looked it up on the internet and confirmed that this is what it was.  (What an interesting website!)  The Vet. told me to put Triple Antibiotic on the wound.  I did this several times a day for a few days.  I noticed that evening (7/2/04) that the kitten was playing with his siblings again.  I, on the other hand, went to bed without dinner that night !  Two or three days later it was scabbed over.  It is one week today (7/8/04)  and the kitten is its old self again.  We live in South Jersey, and I never heard of this before.  We hope that our method will help others.
 Brenda, thanks for your website, it is very informative.
Charles and Janice Mielke 

July 11, 2004
Hi,
    I was in the Guyana jungle and on three occasions, got bitten by the botfly. I got all out. This started in the 80:s. anyway my last occasion was three years ago and now have a lump on my right buttock. This one died in me after I was on medication for malaria and using strong antibiotics. The result was that upon discovering the abscess created by the terminated botfly, and squeezing the sore, puss and black cartilage ejected some feet away in the bathroom. A few days later after healing somewhat a tube that was the home of the invader also dislodged. I now have a lump on my buttock, and now seeking to have it removed. This was done on one occasion in the past. I do suspect that I may have parts of the invader still in my body.
Have you ever noticed that the most dangerous or deadly living things are the smallest.
SEE HOW MANY DEATHS ARE ATTRIBUTED TO THE TINY MOSQUITO OR VIRUSES.

July 17, 2004
Brenda, I just arrived home to the US because I was infected with a botfly.  I visited Nicaragua but had to come home early because I was no longer able to surf.  It is rare to be infected here yet most of the local guys have had one or two throughout their lives.  The locals tell me to wait untill it is ready (it grows to be like a huge pimple) and then to pop it.  I used some of the milk from that plant and this helped to loosen up the the area.  I popped it here in the presence of a doctor and now we are trying to suffocate it just in case it is still in my leg, alive.  I was just wondering if there is any other advice or tips that you can give me.  I think I got it out.  When it comes out does it look like a thick glob of pus?  My leg feels a lot better today but I am still a little nervous.   If you have some time it would be nice to hear from you and your expertise.  Sincerely jtscmvp@hotmail.com

July, 17, 2004
Greetings,
 I've just read the article about Marks Human Botfly.  Unfortunately I didn't know of such a thing until an emergency room MD pulled one out of an incision She made in my ear this afternoon.  I had my critter for more than five weeks! I have been suffering terribly with an ear problem since my recent trip to Belize.  I took this problem with me to Tikal and brought it home to San Francisco.  Shortly after returning home I just couldn't stand the pain anymore and sought medical help.  On three occasions Iwas mis-diagnosed and I took over 74 pills and received two shots in the buttocks at two different times. In fact my last doctor insisted the swollen lymph-nodes all around my ear, jaw and throat were a result of having a cat.  I insisted something bit me in central America weeks ago but he was the doctor and he insisted in drawing blood for a "cat-scratch" test and put me on my third series of pills.  I had already been crapping water and peeing some glowing orange urine that looked like nuclear wast for weeks as a result of my meds that would'nt solve this problem.  I had become afraid to drive and sometimes even breathe as the pain would be unbearable.  The pain would come on suddenly and be totally debilitating. This pain occurred mostly at night.  That is to say it would wake me up at 2:00am, sometimes 4:00am and leave me so totaly spent I couldn't go back to sleep.
I also endured pain a few times during every day. This went on for five weeks and some days.  Then would you believe a retired visiting Doctor friend told me it was obvious that a foreign body was in my ear.  I felt vindicated that
someone believed me.  There was something in my body that didn't belong.  The following afternoon, a Sunday, I was ready to cut off my own ear to rid myself of the excruciating pain.  Somehow I called what I feel was the best local hospital and begged them to call in an ear specialist as I was about to cut off my own ear and drive to their emergency room.  As the problem was deeper than I could cut into my ear I then went into to the emergency room intact.  There I spoke to a young Doctor understood my plight and numbed my ear sufficiently. Then with my blessing and insistance she began to cut looking for who knew
 what. She shrieked when she found a living organism and couldn't bare to pull it out. She yelled for reinforcements and all staff came to see this larvae removed from the edge of my ear canal. She then identified it as the botfly larvae and told me to look it up on the web.  I am keeping my first born larvae in alcohol to show all my other doctors!  This picture I took with an ordinary
 camera. Now I am feeling much better.
 Caesar


Caesars botfly larvae removed from his ear (photo on right) 9.11.04 at 5 weeks.

Hello again Brenda,
I have forwarded your story to my travel agent who then forwarded it to Caves Branch, Belize where I was infected.  Caves Branch, Belize says their statistics show one infection per 500 visitors.  My agent was shocked it was never brought to her attention.  As a result my agent is adding it to their awareness package to better inform would be travelers.  And, Caves Branch will be adding it to an orientation seminar.  I suppose we are the Ginni pigs of change.  I am still a bit afraid to go to sleep at night as that is when that little bugger would surprise me most but I am getting over it quickly.  My ear is healing up well.
Caesar

Hello again Brenda,
I was looking at my botfly in my microscope and thought you might be interested
in seeing what I saw.
Caesar


February 14, 2005  

Hi,
You probably have had your fill of Botfly stories but I thought our story has some information in it that may really help other people who find they have a botfly larvae. The thing is that surgery isn’t needed to remove them and going to a doctor may waste time and money with no good result.
We recently visited Belize . One of our group started experiencing very sharp, severe, pain on her scalp. Soon a large knot formed that kept oozing fluid – sometimes blood.
She put up with this for a week or so until we were at a lodge in the jungle and she mentioned the lodge proprietor.  The proprietor said, “It s a botfly, let Bernice (the cook) look at it.”  Bernice was a mid twenty year old Mayan girl.  She parted the hair and wiped the area and looked at for a second then confirmed it was a botfly (or beef fly as she called it).  She told us we could all see that it was alive because it would stick a little breathing tube out through the hole in the scalp to breath.
We all clustered around and, sure enough, you could see the wound pulse a little and this little spot open as the botfly larva breathed
Bernice said she could remove it.
The proprietor suggested it was better to have Bernice do it than wait until we got back home to see a doctor. She said, “The Doctors there have no idea what these are, they will try several things that won’t work. If the botfly larva doesn’t come out on its own, they may finally cut it out and leave you with big scars and big medical bills. Bernice can have it out in no time, there will be no surgery, no scar and it won’t cost a thing.” 
So Bernice went ahead with the removal. She smoked two cigarettes blowing in her hand after each puff until there was a good amount of tar in her hand.  She dabbed a toothpick in the tar and applied the tar, using the toothpick, to the hole in our friend’s scalp which the botfly breathed through.
In about twenty minutes the cigarette tar killed the botfly larvae (says something about the toxicity of cigarettes). Our friend could feel it squirming around as it was reacting to the cigarette tar so, when the squirming stopped, Bernice knew it was dead. Bernice then used her thumbs to pull the skin around the bump away from the hole. After a few minutes of this the hole was large enough that the dead larvae just popped out.
Bernice told our friend to just pout a band aid on the wound for the night because it was a large hole. Our friend pit some antiseptic ointment on it.
Another couple at this lodge were veterinarians.  They watched the whole process. Afterwards they suggested that a medically safe insecticide could probably be applied to the larva rather than the cigarette tar or that you could simply smother it by sealing the hole with something air tight – like super glue. From one of the letters on your site, it sounds like the super glue works well.

Dan Burnett


May 5, 2005

I, too, was an unwitting host to botfly larvae, in my elbow. I picked them up in Belize, though, not Costa Rica. If you'd like a really big picture of one of the four, go to  http://homepages.dordt.edu/~jwarner/botfly.htm

Cheers,
Jonathan

April 18, 2005

Hello...
I bet you'd never stareted the whole BotFly thing..
I wonder if you can help..
My boyfriend and I are both diving instructors in Belize and he has a lump
on his head that just must be a bot fly lavae...everytime he dives he's in
pain as I imagine the lavae is freaking out...but we have tried the smoke in
the bottle and the vaseline method but it has not come out.
We reckon he's had it for about 3 - 4 weeks, is it too 'young' to be removed
or should we go for the superglue and the big squeeze
We are based on a desert island 32 miles off shore and visiting a doctor
isn't an option for at least a week and I don't think he can take the pain
much longer>.
Any advice would be appreciated..
By the, marvellous website!

Mary Gleeeson


May 9, 2005

Hey Brenda,

My partner and I went to Belize and Tikal at Easter this year.  Wonderful,  9 out of 10, trip.  The best place that we stayed was at Chaa Creek.  Fantastic birds, great reptiles, wonderful cave trips, Maya ruins and a final fantastic week of snorkeling on Glover's Reef. 
About a week after we got home, I began to have piercing, intermittant pain in my scalp. The pain feels like a hot pin sticking in your scalp. 
Our guide in Tikal had a bot fly larva in his head, and one of my friends, Susan, is an epidemiologist who spends a lot of time in Africa, had been afflicted with one in her nose.  When i felt the wound, it seemed to have a worm-shaped object under the skin, who responded to touch.  If you actually put your finger on the wound, he'd immediately scrunch down out of the opening and disappear.  (This is the back of my head, so all I can do is describe the feeling.)  If I touched what seemed to be his body under the surface of the skin, he'd melt away.  There is pain associated with touching him...not immediately, but within a few seconds, you can feel him moving and biting.  Or dragging himself and wounding you with his hooks.  Sometimes, it feels as if he's pulling hair down into the wound.
My friend Gordon, an internist, had just written a paper on Bot flies for the Sierra Club, so he looked at it.  It was too early (2 weeks) for him to be positive.  He said the timing was right, and there was a pin hole, but he couldn't be certain.  I went to see my GP to get her to try to excise it.  By then I knew that if you touch it, it disappears, so I warned the doc.  She looked at the wound through a magnifier and saw the head pulsing.  She shot it full of novacaine, which made the larva flee.  She removed the entire dermis around the wound, in a biopsy sample sized piece.  No larva.
I went to a tropical medicine specialist the following week.  She made a poitive ID on the little guy, who has been with me over 30 days now.  We've named him Billy Bot Thornbutt.  Poor child of an indigent mother who flung him to a Norte American.  Sadly, the outcome for him will not be pleasant.  I'm having him removed once and for all tomorrow.  Just hope he has no brothers or sisters sleeping with him.
Sandy Bulman
Oakland, Ca

June 7, 2005 6;25 AM

Hi my name is Marlene and I went to Costa Rica on May 14th-21st 2005. I had a nice time and would go back I think and I say that because I just went online tonight to see what in the heck I have in my head that I could have got from that area. Well, I think after they are out I might say I would return.  I am sure I have the Bot Flys. I was at Arenal Volcano on the 19th of May. Took a trip through the rain forest just prior to the Volcano so in the right area I believe.

Of course I have the usual story like so many others do. I noticed after I got home that I had several lumps on my head one at the top and 3-4 on the back of my head and a couple at the lower part of my head near my neck. I just thought Spider bites.
I suffered for a while with itching and this sharp pain that is like nothing else kind of burning and hits out of no where and usually does not last long. It seems its worse at night when I lay down to sleep so not to mention I have had not very much sleep in the last 3 weeks or so.
I have never gone to a emergency room in my 59 yrs of being on this earth but a week ago on Friday I did. The swelling and the pain was just more than I could handle and a holiday week-end on top of it. I was examined by a doctor and she informed me yes it looks like a bite of some kind. Here is a antibiotic and when was your last tetnus shot? So of course I got one of those too. See your regular doctor on Tuesday.
Tuesday I go to my doctor and tell him the symptoms and my visit to the emergency room and he tells me he will give me a shot in my hip that is an anti inflamatory and proceeded to give me all of the possible side affects which I responded with just give me the shot. Then if not any better come back.
Today I am really wore out with all of this. I work at a convalescent hospital and everyone is trying to help me. I tried some old remedies like meat tenderizer, creams, trying to drain the lumps which only resulted in a discharge of light colored liquid with maybe a hint of blood from time to time. With increasing bouts of sharp burning pain.
Tonight I went to bed or tried to the minute I put my head down on the pillow it all started the most pain I ever have had and burning and on and on. I cried for several hours it would not stop. I finally came back down stairs to my computer room and tried to find anything that made sense on what this could be. I then found your web site and it was like someone had just turned on the light. I printed it out knowing that no one would believe me. Finally 1am I  notified my husband I was going to the emergency room and he got up and said I will take you.
I still had real doubts I was going to get any relief or help tonight but it was worth the try. I am sick to my stomach now and so tired I just can not go much longer with this. We arrive at the emergency room and are greeted and with the usual "what is your problem this morning"? I explained I had gone to Costa Rica and thought I had got bit by a spider or red ant. I said I came here and then to my doctor and it is worse. I said I went online to see if I could come up with anything and found this information. The nurse read it and said have you tried any of these things. No I can not see them and my husband would not do it for me not that he did not want to he just could not ever get them out.
Next comes the doctor and he looks at them. He then says I will give you another antibiotic Augmentin and a pain killer Darvocet. I can not verify that it is or is not what you say so I want you to call a Infectious Disease Specialist. Also here is a ointment for you to apply to the area's Neosporin. He put a DX of Impetigo on my paper work. I took one of the pills there and now I am sick to my stomach and I am sure I will vomit any minute. All of this for what its not even the solution.
So, I had already made another appointment today with my regular physician and it is at 8:45 am tomorrow and I am taking all of the paper work from your web site as well as the stories of these little guys and the things that can be used to kill them. I think I will bring my own glue I think nail glue should work! I am going to tell him to use it or one of the other methods but I want them out and now right now.
Its funny when I first went to him I said can you not open these up and make sure there is nothing inside I just have felt all along that there was something inside and so I hope tomorrow I will have a happy ending to this story. Or one in site real soon. Thank you again if I had not read the story about Mark I would still be suffering I am this sure that I have the Bot Fly.
I will send you the ending I hope tomorrow. I am pushing on my head now its 4:23 am and the pain is almost unreal. There is some drainage coming out right after and I know I can feel movement. I just cannot thank you enough.
Until the ending. Best regards, Marlene


Reply to Marlene on June 7, 2005 10:30 AM

Marlene,
I feel sorry for you. The pain gets worse the longer they are inside. I know it must be getting unbearable if it has been 3 weeks. I hope you are able to have them removed today. Please keep me posted. If they do not surgically remove them today get your husband to put the nail glue on, then cover it with Vaseline real thick, put a tight bandage on it and wait at least 3 hours or more. This should suffocate the larva and bring it out. Make sure you get all of the larva out so you do not leave anything behind for an infection. See all the botfly photos of our website for reference. I do not think there is any sort of medication that will help, not even for pain. The pain comes & goes so unless your on I 24/7 I do not see how it could work. They tried to give some to Mark as well and he refused it. They seem to have bothered Mark the most at night as well. If the air hole was covered they must but the hook in or something. He was not sleeping either.
Glad you found our website and it was helpful for you.
Good luck.
Brenda Johnstone
June 7, 2005 2:13 PM
Hi Brenda thank you for your concern. I went to the doctor with the paper work and I told him you have two choices take time to read some of this or find someone I can go to that knows about this and now.
He read on and was in shock never heard of it and here we are and he asks me how do we get them out? I handed him some of papers of people who had sent their stories to you at your web site and he read them. We decided we would start with the The Injection of Hydrogen Peroxide into each one. Well not knowing there could be more pain he did not numb it first and of course he did the first one and I fell apart and cried so he numbed all of the remaining ones and then injected the Peroxide. He tried to force one out no luck. So I am back home now my head full of Peroxide and not sure what will happen next or when.
I did not go into work today and I will try tomorrow since there are nurses there and scapels I think we will get them out if we can.  I might do the glue thing too not sure. I go back to my doctor on Thursday and if they are not out by then I guess I will go the surgery way I just know I can not do this much longer.
Right now I can feel movement but not out of my head but it could be the bubbles too but I think I am sure they are my 5 little friends I guess I should name them. I just don't feel that cute yet. I will keep you informed.
Thanks again not wishing this onto anyone but I am so glad you and Mark experienced this or I would be still on the wrong treatment and probably going crazy by now.
Thanks Marlene
June 7, 2005 2:30 PM
I cannot believe the doctor sent you home without getting those out for you. I would definitely try getting them out yourself so you can get some rest. The pain can drive a person crazy, Mark was starting to feel that way. He was in the last stages of development with his 2 larva's. I hope you get some relief soon and can go back to your normal life, pain free.
Keep me posted,
Brenda
June 7, 2005 9:29 PM
Well it does not get any better as what the rest of everyone faced no help. I have decided that the doctors are not going to fix this. I went back to my doctor because the pain came back and I did not want to spend another night like last night. He would not open them up and get them out. He referred me to a Dermatologist and if that was not bad enough he did not even ask if my insurance covered so I get all the way over there and they tell me no coverage.
So I am in pain and said how much it sounded like $150.00 so I said Ok. I waited while he worked me in. He came in and took a culture. He got several books out and checked on a new medicine just released. He said he was giving me that plus a cream and also back on the Keflex.
So whatever I will try it but I think that tonight will be ugly again and so tomorrow I think I will try the smother thing and see if they will come up far enough for my boss or one of our nurses to grab and pull out. I know I have to get them out it just hurts to much.
So my pharmacy did not have the new drug so it will be ready tomorrow after 4pm so by the time I get home from work if the little guys are still with me then I will take it.
I should have know this would not be a short story. Sorry. Thanks Marlene
Thank you Brenda, No doctor's here know of this or want to treat it. I tried the to smother them today but it did not work so now tomorrow I am going to call my insurance and see if I can go to Travis Air Force Base and be seen. My husband is retired so not sure if I am covered there. But I want to call them first and ask if there is anyone there that knows about this before I go.
I had one doctor in Walnut Creek Ca. that knew of it and had taken some out but since they are all in my head he said No because of the bleeding factor and referred me to a surgeon but he is out until Monday but I am going to call back and see if one of the other doctor's can help me.
The pain is unreal as you know. I am not sure how much more I can take.
I will let you know what has happened to me.
Thank you for your notes. Marlene
Mark responded to Marlene and here is her reply on July 10, 2005 12:45 PM
Hi, Mark thank you so much for your help. I read your story and as Brenda might have told you it was your story that informed me of what I have. You can not believe what I have been through but I know you have an idea.
No one here in California has heard of this and if they heard of it they have never had an actual case. I am the first in Contra Costa County. I know I saw two stories from one person in Oakland and one person in San Francisco but they too were not diagnosed correctly. I have called Washington DC I have called CDC, I have call our county health department.
What I have been told basically is that this is so new not heard of that they have so many diseases that are here and hundreds of people needing help they do not consider me as important or someone they want to spend time on. Only in America we have such a bad rap on what kind of health care we offer our citizens especially the aged residents.
I actually had a good day in reference to maybe some help. First I called Travis Air Force Base and they said I could come up there they had me send by Fax a referral from my primary care doctor and copies of the information I had from the site to them. My doctor did this and they said I might be able to be seen next week so that was OK. But I guess someone there might know about it and all of a sudden I got a call from Travis they want to see me tomorrow at 1pm.
The other news was one of our employee's where I work in a convalescent hospital is from Mexico and his grandmother taught him how to do it. He said they are poor there and do not have what we do so they used tequilla cleaned the area and took a antibiotic that is in a capsule and poor the powder over the hole. You do this 3 times a day for 5 days. So if I do not get help at Travis I will come home and start Billy's method of treatment.
I have tried the peroxide, the vaseline, now the air base and next the antibiotic powder he told me after I asked him how do they get out he said do not worry your body will reject it and they will get out I still wonder but I am so much in pain I am willing to try anything.
But if nothing works I will contact your doctor and I might anyway. I really appreciate your and Brenda's help and support and I am sorry this happened to you but Mark if it was not for you getting it and Brenda setting up the web site I and others would be out there suffering and not knowing or understanding what was happening to them.
Thank you again. I will send Brenda the outcome of the next stage of my life with my 5 little friends in my head.
Sincerely, Marlene
July 10, 2005 10:27 AM
Marlene,
I was so busy yesterday that I could not email. So glad my husband did and gave you Gabe's phone #. My son is in scout camp this week and I am the leader, also we are leaving Sat. AM for Big Bend. So you see I have lots going on besides helping my husband out here at our computer store.
I sure hope you find some relief soon. I cannot belive you have 5!!!!!! WOW you must really be miserable. Are the pain pills helping at all?
I will take my laptop, but not sure about internet access, so keep me posted. Not sure when I will be able to get online, so if you do not hear from me that is why. We will return on the 19th or so.
I am so sorry you are going through such a miserable ordeal with this. I wish some of the remides from the webstie helped with removal. I guess it is really hard for you since they are on top of your head and hard for you to get at.
Hang in there,
Brenda Johnstone
July 11, 2005 11:10 PM
Hi Brenda I know you are on your trip. I e-mailed Mark tonight and let him know I am minus 5 botflies now. I forgot to tell him they all went to the Major who actually squeezed the first one out and then they were going to the lab at UC Davis. The have a camera on their equipment and he wanted pictures.
I had the surgery way thanks to Travis Air Force Base.
I mentioned to Mark I would like to know how to get my story on there like the others with pictures when I get mine.
I also contacted Costa Rica and they are e-mailing me everyday like you and tonight I told them I am Ok and they are out and they want my story too so they can put it in their newsletters to travel agency's and others to warn them on how to protect themselves.
I will talk to you when you return hope you are having fun. Sincerely Marlene
June 11, 10:42 PM
Hi Mark, I got a e-mail from your wife and she told me she was out of town with your children at camp I think that is great. I hope they have a good time. Not sure if you went too but I wanted to let you know the news.
On Wednesday after my failures of all roads of going to doctors I talked to a retired Military doctor friend of mine and he did not want to do this but he told me if all else failed he would try and do it for me one at time to see how it went. He told me like others from UC Davis to go to Travis Air Force Base so I called and they said to Fax my info to them and get my primary care doctor to send a referral and some of my information and pictures to them. The same day which is unheard of Travis called my husband and let him know I had a appointment on Friday.
I went there with my husband and I met with Major Patrick J Danaher in the infection disease clinic. He told me he called my doctor and that he would take my medical background and then for me to tell the story. 2 hrs later he got ready to exam me.
He put me under the light and looked at the lumps, he said he heard of these but never had seen them. He right away asked if he pushed would it hurt and I said NO I don't think so. He started to push on one of the lumps he said he thought he saw something and right away he said I got something, actually he thought it would just be pus but to his shock and surprise and very much interested he said look here it is. I said that is not it its to small he no that is one. It moved and ick ick ick. But it was so small how could I have so much pain from one little thing. Well I then looked closer and yes it was him he had the hooks and the sharps things going down the side. He put him in a cup.
I was treated like a celebrity and he asked if others could come in the room, I laughed and said yes and one time we had 8 men in there with me and they even got a photographer to take pictures of the bite sites and my little guy went to the lab.
Everyone was going into the lab they could not believe what was going on it was funny.
He then called the surgeon in for a consult and they were deciding how to do this outpatient in-patient and I said my new friend Brenda said its not a big deal and out-patient should be fine.
The prep took more time than the surgery. It only took about an hour for the removal of all 4 of them plus they had to open the area he pulled one out of cause there might have been more or something left in there. It was Ok.
So I got home last night and I thought the one at the bottom felt like something was trying to get out and it hurt like it did before so I will have to tell them that on Monday for my re-check today I have not felt anything but it is the only one that is sore and it is the one he said he was worried about for infection because they had a hard time getting that one out and had to go deeper. I am going to ask what it is like if there was one in there and we stitched up the air hole and he will die. I am not sure what they will do. But maybe it hurt more because of the area but you know how it hurt and I do too and sure felt like one but maybe not.
They loose stitched it cause I promised to come back on Monday and then again on Friday if everything is Ok they will take out the stitches. Oh they are not fun either I remember from having a baby. Oh you do too you had twins I remember reading that.
Once again I can not thank Brenda enough for her story and the web site. I would like to put my story on the web like you and others did how do I do that?. I contacted Costa Rica and they want me to write a story also and they said they will print it. They have been interested in me too they e-mailed me everyday and also asked where I was and what I wore and how do I think it happened they want to alert others planning to go into the same area. I have also sent several e-mails to government agencies and health departments and CDC and ISTM heck today I even e-mailed the President but we all know probably none of these will get noticed or anyone will contact me. But I am also printing a letter to our local newspaper and see if they will put it in as a Travel Warning to that area. I am not going to stop now this is just awful that no one is concerned about these coming into our country and the chance if they go full term we are giving birth to flies which will intern find a mosquito here and it all starts over again. The other thing is that no doctor in my area knew of this except two one refused because it was my head and the other would because I was going to beg and cry but he was not thrilled. Thank goodness it all turned out good.
I will talk to Brenda when she gets home. Again sorry it happened but thank god you told your story for all of the others and now me. Oh the doctors were flipping a coin to see who would come in and tell me they had to shave my hair right down the middle in the back I look like a skunt. But I had already prepared for that too so I did not even cry he sure was glad. Most women cry if they lose their hair. Heck at that point I would have lost anything just to get them out of my head. Take care and good luck and you can be sure if I travel anymore out of the country I will be better prepared while going while there and when I get back. Sincerely, Marlene Foster
1651 Drive-In Way
Antioch, Ca. 94509
925 383-5713
July 15, 2005 2:27 AM
Hi Brenda here are my little guys. The doctor who sent them is the one that got out the first one and then 3 surgeons got out the rest of them. Its kind of cool now almost unbelievable but at the time the pain was out of this world. Thanks again, Marlene

June 21, 2005
Marlene,
So glad your awful ordeal is over. I want to post your information and
photos on the website! I have saved all your letters and will use those
if you like. It might be awhile, as I am playing catch up from being
gone. Let me know how it goes getting your information out. I am glad
Costa Rica is taking some action for tourist. Belize needs to do the
same thing as I get lots of emails from visitors. I hope that you get
published in the paper. I wanted to get Mark on David Letterman but
they turned us down. I contacted our area papers and stuff but guess
they thought we were "nuts" (pun intended)!
I am so glad we were able to help in some small way. Keep me posted if
you want.
Brenda Johnstone
June 21, 2005 10:23 PM
Hi, I like you have contacted our local TV station and I just got an
e-mail from them and they are passing onto the health Beat reporters
and if they are interested they will contact me, I am not holding my
breath no one seems to understand the suffering one goes through with
this but its always worth a try. I did get my question to the doctor in
the local paper published but I was hoping for some help in getting the
information out there so other travelers and doctors would know about
this. I work in the medical field so I am taking every advantage I can
to talk about it. Thanks for putting my story in no hurry I know you
are busy. I appreciate your interest and support. I will keep in touch.
Marlene

June 29, 2004
Dear Ms Johnstone,
I am a doctor working in the United Kingdom. I am submitting a short case
report on a case of botfly myiasis to the British Medical Journal. Such
infestations are rare here. I have a good quality photograph of the larva
itself but not one of the subcutaneous swelling (warble) that the patient
presented with. I wonder if you might be able to supply me with one to use
in the case report?
With kindest regards,
Dr Sidhartha Sinha
June 29, 2005
Dr Sidhartha Sinha,
The only photos we have are the ones on our website. You are welcome to use them as long as we get credit. Please email us if you intend to use them.
Brenda Johnstone
June 30, 2005
June 30, 2005
Thank you for your email. Please send me a JPEG image of the swelling
(warble) on your website and also your name, designation (Dr/Ms/Prof etc),
position and institution where you work. I will include you as one of the
authors on the case report.
Kind regards,
Sidhartha Sinha

July 24, 2005 9;21 PM
Here in Hornbrook, just under the Oregon border, we had our own problem with the little guys. our dogs had bb sized wounds that were neither closing up or getting worse. One day for some reason, i squeezed one and the larva popped out. I repeated it on a couple of the dogs with the same result. (my mom got to be the one to grab them though. for some reason i cant stand Larvae). I found it weird to have such exotic sounding bugs here though. Do you know of many that have come from this area?
Ronald Bortman

I emailed Ronald

I think it might be a rabbit botfly. They are very much like a human botfly.
 I am not an expert, so you might want to consult a vet.
Gosh, your dogs must have been miserable. So glad you got them out.
Let me know what you find out so I can keep others posted.
Thanks for the email.
Brenda Johnstone

July 30, 2005Hello Brenda,

My name is Brianne Rhoads and I have recently returned from a 3-week adventure in Belize. I was enrolled in a seminar last semester about the cultures/experiences/flora and fauna of Belize. The course ended with a three week trip to Belize to "experience our research." Interestingly enough during the course each student was required to give a presentation about a certain topic of Belize, mine was concerning parasites and other insects- including the beefworm/botfly- I must say that the research made not only my skin crawl, but also the skin of everyone else in the class; extremely disturbing.

While in Belize we were constantly reminded by the professors and myself(not to mention the natives) that they were out there and that we should take heed- I really wasn't worried b/c I had read that they were rare and my professors had brought over 100 students to Belize during the 6 trips and not a single student had ever reported harboring one of the little creatures. We tromped through the Wildlife sanctuaries, explored Mayan ruins and mangrove ecosystems, we snorkeled, and were amazingly happy all the way up to 2 days before our departure when our group was snorkeling and we got into "Pica Pica" infested waters. Pica Pica are microscopic jellyfish spawn that sting just as viciously as there full-sized parents- our bathing suits acted as nets for the critters and I was stung hundreds of times, they got into our hair and the stings covered our bodies- even after removing ourselves from the water and treating with vinegar- we could not get the pica pica to stop firing their nematocysts- they made my entire body itch and we were covered in hive-like sores around every sting- the following couple of days were absolutely miserable as we were forced to tape socks around our hands and cut all of our fingernails off in order not to scratch ourselves raw. We tried a number of local remedies but nothing seemed to work- some of the girls had such bad reactions that they had to get steroids - I refused as I am not a huge fan of prescriptions. They stings were extremely itchy/painful for about a week and a half and as my skin started to recover from the pica pica it soon began to crawl again as I realized I had something else…

My entire body had been itching for over a week- so at first I took little notice of the small bite on my upper right buttock that was not seeming to heal, but while I was changing into my work clothes one day I noticed the bite in my mirror. The bite was slightly swollen and I prodded at it and decided that it was just another mosquito bite that wasn't healing properly b/c of the constant irritation from me sitting down and walking (friction against the pants), it actually resembled something like a huge pimple. The next morning I noticed that the tissue around the bite was becoming inflamed and that the bite was slightly more pronounced- not to mention that about a six-inch area of my buttock was becoming tense to the touch. This condition continued for a couple of days and in the back of my mind I humored the thought that it could be a botfly, but I wasn't ready to admit it. After another day or two I started having sharp pains shoot down my backside and I had my roommate examine the bite- she said it looked like a fresh hole and was secreting ooze. We took some pictures with my digital camera so that I could get a decent look at it and it looked much like the bites described in the literature I had researched for my report. I called my professor and although amused he suggested I should probably have it removed if I really thought that it was a botfly larva.

It has been 2 days since I talked to my professor about my botfly; now named Alex Jr. after my long-term boyfriend b/c they are both a pain in my ass ;) , And the pain can be bad enough to make my eyes water and my whole body break out in goose bumps. Up until last night I was still slightly skeptical that it could be something besides a botfly- BUT Alex Jr. went into a particularly long set of movements causing me to have my roommate check the area (while my other roommate freaked out from across the apartment) and she said that it was oozing blood and another more translucent fluid- she cleaned the area with an antibacterial wipe and we decided to take a couple more pictures. As I assumed the position for picture taking, Alex Jr. started to move again so I stretched my neck to get a good look and so did my roommate and we both were horrified as a little off-white "thing" (we assume the tail) poked slightly out of the hole and back into the flesh. Although completely disgusted I am thinking about carrying the larva until it pushes itself out of the hole and prepares for pupation.

I have toyed with the idea of becoming an Entomologist (my current study is Pre-Med) and I am extremely amused by the situation I am experiencing, but I am also worried about any side effects that could take place. I have read that these bites will not become infected as long as the botfly is still inside the flesh and that scarring is minimal- but could there be any other side effects besides pain that I should worry about? I am planning on visiting a dermatologist or specialist (anyone that will believe me b/c it sounds from the stories on your site, that it is hard to get a doctor to believe you) but I thought I would ask you b/c you seem to have some experience with them. Your site has been a great help as far as support b/c I know I'm not the only person that has had one- and I appreciate you taking the time to read my e-mail. I will keep you posted on Alex Jr. and when he emerges- I will also send pictures if you so desire (I am going to be borrowing a camera that is better than mine for close-up photos of the warble).Thank-you for your website and any insight,
Brianne Rhoads

More from Brianne on August 8, 2005
 
I have a TON of news about the Botfly, I have been just too busy to send you any new info! He came out on Sunday afternoon. He had been trying to push his way out the entire morning, but I had to work, so I bandaged him up and worked my shift. After I came home from work I noticed he was sticking further out than ever (about like the picture of the guy's knee on your site) so I gave him a good squeeze and after a minute or two he popped right out and flew a couple feet to land on the counter! I wanted to puke and jump for joy at the same time.  I NEVER would have imagined it would have been as big as it is- It is about an inch and a half long and twice as thick as a pencil ( I kept him for 12 weeks), but I just couldnt believe that it came out of me. I put Alex Jr. in a small tequila bottle and have him on display on my counter... Alex Sr. was not too happy about seeing it but was glad to know it was gone, and the hole is almost healed.  My professor that took us to Belize told me to put him in 70% rubbing alcohol, so that is what I did, but I am EXTREMELY distressed at the fact that my bot is turning black rapidly- almost half the carcass is black now- do you have any suggestions as to what to put him in instead?

I'll try and send you a better e-mail describing my fights with Alex Jr. and such tomorrow- but I've been doing double-shifts all week (a lot easier now that he is gone).  And I'll send some pictures as well. Thanks for your interest! Your site REALLY made this a lot easier to deal with- I don't think I would have made it all the way until the end without reading the stories on your site- I probably would have gotten him excised after 6 weeks b/c thats how long I was told they would last.

Thank-you,

Brianne Rhoads


I emailed Dr. Rodriguez to see what he thought was the best way to preserve these interesting little critters and here is what he said...

Brenda,
Your website has really grown.  I am glad that you have time to listen to many of these stories.  I would just like to add that sometimes it might be best to have these patients follow up with an reliable physician as there are many other parasites, infections, or diseases which can mimic the very same symptoms of the human bot fly.
Though I am not an entomologist, I would recommend placing any suspicious parasite in a sealed freezer bag and place in the freezer, this will likely preserve the organism for identification.
Hope this helps.
Dr. Rodriguez

 
August 3, 2005
Brenda,
I am so happy to have found your website.  My mom and sister and I took a trip to Belize just as all of these other folks and my mom insisted that the three of us keep each other posted when we got back to make sure we didn't pick anything up.  My husband was joking with me the day after I got back and pointed to a "zit" on my left cheek closer to my ear. He said it was probably one of those fly larvae.  I pushed at the zit a little but nothing really came out.  But I did notice a pin head in the middle.  That concerned me.  Two days later and the zit was much more circular and a little raised with what looks like a circular scab around the outside.  It is only the size of a pencil eraser.  I definitely became more concerned when it changed, and now seven days after the trip it has not improved.  It does itch every now and then.  I went to the doctor and was referred to a dermatologist, but cannot be seen for another week.  They didn't seem to take my concern seriously.  I want to try the tiger bomb with a clear piece of packing tape.  I noticed an email from a reader wonder if you had to wait or if they could be too "young" to extract.  What have you noticed as far as that.  My bump has not become painful yet or started oozing, but I certainly want to remove it before it gets to that stage and I don't have much faith in the medical community recognizing this for what it could be.

Thank you so much for you help.
Lesley


August 19, 2005

I work for a humane society animal shelter in Indiana.  One of the stranger things we see are botfly larvae in dogs and cats.  Believe it or not someone brings in an animal or calls with questions about once a week complaining about a "hole" in the animal.  From experience I can usually come to the conclusion on the phone what the problem is.  People are usually shocked, disgusted, freaked out, etc...when you tell them about this maggot burrowing its way into their pet.  Cats and kittens are the most affected in this area.  Or maybe its just that people notice them more on their cats and kittens rather than on their dogs.  I don't know, but, I do know that they need to be removed.  Surprisingly the pets don't seem to be in too much discomfort.  But, then again I wouldn't know because I've never had a warble. 

 
Anyway, I've developed my own way of removing them.  Working for a Humane Society you learn to do a lot on your own, rather than to spend your hard earned donations at the Vet's office.  My technique works rather well and usually within minutes the larva is removed.  I thought I would share in hopes that it could help people whose doctors are clueless and prefer to stay that way. 
 
Ok, well this is how I do it.  I have someone restrain the animal (obviously not necessary for a person).  Clean around the wound with alcohol or peroxide.  then, with a little syringe or eye dropper I apply peroxide directly into the hole as I patiently wait with my tweezers.  Alcohol can be used too, but I'd imagine that would sting a bit.  I continue to occasionally apply the peroxide until the little nasty larva comes sticking its body out.  Latch on with the tweezers and pull applying VERY SLOW but steady pressure taking care not to tear or pull apart the worm. 
 
From my understanding the peroxide smothers it.  It has to come out to breathe.  After reading the stories, I can see how Vaseline or something similar would work.  However, after removing so many of these from pets, I myself, would be un inclined to wait it out.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little revolted by these creatures. 
 
Now don't get me wrong.  You have to "catch" it with the tweezers.  Those little boogers don't come all the way out.  They just stick a little bit out to get some air.  And you have to keep the area and the "hole" saturated.  I've been successful every time.  All the little kitties and doggies I've helped out have recovered with no side effects. 
 
Just thought this might help someone out (or at least save you from the frustration of arrogant doctors). 
 
With the best of luck,
 
Amber Welch
Amber,
Thanks for writing. I did not realize that we had botfly's in the United States. Maybe these are the rabbit botfly's? I am going to sending this link so you can read more about them. Seems some of these can get into the brains of animals. Sounds horrible and wanted you to be aware of it.   Here is the link   http://botfly.ifas.ufl.edu/links/links1.htm#insectlinks
 I talked with a cousin of mine that lived in Belize and they said it was common for the animals to get the larva's off the animals there. I like your technique though, seems the only thing the animal would not like is being held down for the wait to grab the larva.
 Thanks again for sharing and do you mind if I ad it to the site? I admire the fact that you work at an animal shelter and try to save the donations by taking care of things yourself. I love animals myself and try to do what I can to help them out.
 Brenda Johnstone
Brenda,
 Thanks for the link.  Also, thanks for the compliment.  Its a hard job, but someone has to love the animals.  A lot of people don't have a clue about the botflies here.  To be honest I didn't have a clue either until several years ago one of my horses got a larva in the neck.  Talk about disgusting. That thing was almost 2 inches long.   
Feel free to use my story on your site, or anywhere else you might think it could be helpful.  Actually what brought me to your site is that I have never seen an adult fly.  All this time removing the larva, and I had no clue what the adults looked like.  Just goes to show the saying "You learn something new every day." is oh so true. 
 I hope what I sent to you comes in handy!
 Thanks again,
Amber Welch

September 9, 2005
I was just reading the information on that Bot Fly, coming from a ranching family in Montana I have seen many warbles on cattle ,which degraded the sale of the cow hide also. But never new that bot flies ever got on Humans or dogs. The reason I read the article was because my daughter emailed it to me  about the bot fly larvae which  the Vet removed from her dog in Minneapolis.
 Thank you; Leo Huppert

September 7, 2005
Brenda,
I found your web site while researching Bot flies.  Our Brittany Spaniel has one on her belly and I was trying to find out more about them. Your site is very informative and your husband is a good sport for letting you tell his story as related to his "private parts".
Having had a vasectomy I can somewhat identify with surgery in that area of the body.
My wife is an ER nurse and has seen 2 cases of fly larva under the skin, both were from people who had traveled to Mexico. I am rather disappointed that the ER which looked at your husband did not treat him. With all the gross stuff that people in an ER see this would be right up their alley.
Thanks again for a very interesting and informative site,
Bill Emanuel

September 9, 2005
Brenda,I am just doing research on Costa Rica as I am going there with my wife Feb. '06. You're story about Mark's (and your's) botfly experience is really excellent. Thanks!
Dean Knoblauch

October 7, 2005
We have a rabbit that has gotten a bot fly larvae in her side and are going through a rough patch and cannot afford to take her to the vet. we really need some advice on how to remove this from her at home. any information that you may have would be greatly appreciated.
thank you, david and vicky singleton

I replied:

David & Vicky,
You need to cover the air hole with something like Vaseline or a thick coating of Mycitracian. You have to be very patient and wait for the larva to poke out of air hole to try to breath. This is why something clear seems to work best as you can see through it better. When you see the larva be prepared with tweezers to grab it pull it out. It is important to remove all of the larva so infection does not set in. After the larva is removed treat it like you would any sore by keeping it clean and medicine on it.
Here is a website that tells of another way of doing it with saline. http://www.geocities.com/kblueberry/botfly.html
Good luck and let me know how it goes.
Brenda

October 24, 2005
Hello Brenda,
 
We are doing an article that will feature human bot flies for FHM Lithuania magazine, NOV 2005.  I saw a few of your photos on the website, http://www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/botfly.html and I wonder if you would give us premission to use them, and maybe even send us high resolution versions, or at least, better resolution versions.  Our deadline to receive images is Thursday Oct 27
 
Thank you for your help,
 
Best,
 
Jenn Virskus
 
Photo Editor
FHM Lithuania
Laisves pr. 60
Vilnius 05120
Lithuania
Tel: 370 5 242 46 77

Nov. 11, 2005
Brenda, I wanted to thank you for the story you posted simply because I
laughed so hard that i cried and had to leave my desk at work several times
just to get through it... oh btw youre writing style is great - I think
thats what did it for me. From one writer to another keep the pen in motion!

Glenn

I replied:

Glenn, (WOW same name as my brother)
Thanks for emailing me. I had fun doing that website, and it amazes me the response I get from it.
We have had some very bizarre, interesting & gross emails because of the site.
I have become the "unofficial botfly" person to contact for any kind of information. I just recently helped someone remove a rabbit botfly larva from their pet bunny, so I do get some great gratification from it all.
It was a scary thing seeing Mark in so much pain, but tons of fun to look back on it and laugh now. Glad you got a good laugh from it as well. What prompted you to find the site anyway?
Thanks again, Brenda Johnstone

His reply:

Brenda, (WOW same name as my mother-in-law and no I won't hold it against
you... j/k)

So, what prompted me was a search to re-identify an insect that i saw when
standing in (soon to be my backyard) with my wife. We were enjoying the
sunshine by a head high lemon tree when what we thought was a hummingbird
flew in and hovered among its branches. Our discussion of how much we liked
the house was put on hold as we both looked at the backside of this tiny
"bird." Once it had its strange attention from us it turned and we saw a
huge insect with what we both (in our panic) said looked to have a humanoid
face... yea, i know. Anyway it should have served as an omen since during
the 17 years we have owned the home it has been a scene right out of
"Jumanji" only plug in rodents, insects, and arachniods instead. In fact,
one day i went into my son's room to find the ants and termites at war with
no more empty wall space over the size of a quarter in any given area. Oh,
and I plan to reread your story and laugh again today and maybe again
another day as well.


Nov. 10, 2005
Hi Brenda,
Thought I would share my hideous story of Botfly's with you, as it brought back so many fond memories lol!
I was travelling into Belize whilst backpacking, and stayed in a small town bordering the jungle for a couple of days along with a couple of friends.
We had sunk a few beers in the early evening, and retired to our hostel for the night, all of us awaking in the morning, covered in bites and nursing hangovers.
I suffered in silence with 2 particular bites, one on my leg and the other on the top of my head, and both of my friends bites (as did my 'other' bites) seemed to clear up of their own accord.
Back in England, I started getting shooting pains intermittently, usually when I was washing my hair, showering etc and when I was sleeping at night.
I thought maybe I was getting migraines, and eventually went to the doctors to see what he thought. As I hadn't visited him for a while, he was giving me the once over, and then asked when I had banged my head, as I had a lump the size of half a golf ball on it.
I told him that I hadn't, and had a smaller lump, which I thought was just an infected mosquito bite, and which I was treating with penecillin powder, to which he then referred me to the deermatologist in my local hospital.
The dermatologist called in a consultant who recognised what they were immeadiately after telling him of my travelling and where I had been; who then smeared a good lump of petroleum jelly over both of the vents, covered with a pad and told me to come back in the morning.
I returned with my mother in transit, whilst they pulled both of the mature larvae out of my head and leg, my mother was nearly sick and the nurse in attendance shrieked when they pulled them both out.
Strangely, I felt slightly attatched to the little fellas, and was most upset when they wouldn't give them me to keep in a jar for posterity!!!!!!
Am I mad!!!!?!?!?
 
Nick

Nov. 8, 2005
 
I read some of the interesting articles about bot flies in humans.
If I may add my $1200 worth, my story is about my 24 pound short-haired beagle/terrier mix, eight years old.  He, like me, acts much younger than his age.  He has been in perfect health all his life, even when I brought him from the pound at age one year.
He recently became suddenly extremely ill.  He as not scratching, nor showing any signs except lethargy, and rapidly rising temperature, 101 to 104 in just three hours.
I took him to the Pet ER, where the vet noticed he had severe neck pain, which I had not detected.  She gave subcutaneous clysis, pain medicine, and I brought him home.  He showed some improvement, but still quite sick.
When I took him to our regular vet the next morning, he noticed swelling in his neck.  Excruciating pain just upon touching his face.  We returned to the clinic, where more specialists are available, thinking it could be meningitis.
He was given IV fluids, and pain medicine and sedatives.  Yet another vet noticed, in addition to the fever, 106-107, the pain, and swelling, bruising.  She shaved his neck, and found a small puncture.  It was assumed to be a bug bite, but who had any idea what it was....poisonous, or what?
I live in a wooded area just outside Atlanta, wher there are innumerable kinds of bugs.  If this was venomous, was he going to survive?
Finally, the night vet called me with the news:  she probed the puncture, and found one of those buggers still alive in my little boy's neck, getting pretty close to his trachea.  She removed it, continued the IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds.
I brought him home, feeling much better.  He still has a tiny hole in his neck, but the antibiotics, and warm compresses have helped.  He is back to his silly self, and ready to return to work as a Hospice Volunteer.
How can I prevent recurrences?  He is mostly inside, but has access to the outside.  I also have another dog, and ten cats.  Should I treat my yard?  I hate using chemicals.  But I don't want anyone else to get one of those nasty things.
Thank you for the information.  It was quite an experience.
I don't know how to contact all the authors of the articles, but I enjoyed the Christmas poem.   :>)
 
Clara Sharp 

Nov. 17, 2005

Hi Brenda.
I am working on a new series for Discovery Health Channel called Dr. Know.  It's a medical mythbusters type program, both informative and fun.  We are doing an episode on Urban Legends and want to use a few images of human bot fly for a "mind boggling moment."  Do you own the rights to the pictures found on the site noted below?  Are there high resolution copies available to use?
http://www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/botfly2.html
Please let  me know.
Thanks!
Kelly Newton
Associate Producer
Discovery Production Group
8045 Kennett St., 3rd Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910
240-662-4552 office

I replied back & gave them permission. I have not heard back from them since.


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If we get any more emails in the future I will post them. Thanks to everyone that has shared their botfly story with us. I am happy our site has been able to help others & hope it continues to do so in the future. Any questions or emails can be sent to brenda@gccs.net
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