Imagine coming back from your tropical vacation with a maggot embedded in your groin.
That's what happened to a 36-year-old Tampa woman who ended up at Tampa General Hospital two months after a trip to Belize, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports. She told physicians she thought she had been bitten by a bug, and that that could have caused the lesion and red rash around her groin. She had gone horseback riding in Belize, and at the time found a tick on her back.
Before going to the hospital, the woman saw her primary care doctor, who prescribed an antibiotic. She took it as instructed, but it didn't clear up the lesion completely.
Aside from the irritated skin area, she had no other symptoms like rashes on other parts of her body, nor did she experience chills, fatigue or fever. Doctors at Tampa General initially thought it could be a cyst or an ingrown hair, but they were unable to remove it. The woman was referred to a local dermatologist for further evaluation.
She later ended up back in the hospital, this time at Tampa Memorial, where a wound care specialist reexamined the lesion. Doctors performed a procedure to extract the lesion, which is when they found a botfly larva embedded in her skin.
Skin disorders are among the most common medical issues that arise after short visits to developing countries, especially warm ones, according to the new study. It also said developing larvae infestations are the fourth most common travel-associated skin disease.
The human botfly, like the one found in the Tampa woman, is from Central and South America, usually from Mexico to northern Argentina.
"I've never see anything like this in my 15 years here, but it is actually quite common in Central and South America," said Dr. Enrico Camporesi, the wound care specialist who treated the patient at Tampa Memorial. "We don't suspect that the egg was deposited by a fly, but instead it was a mosquito that bit the human and deposited the bot-fly egg."
The moral of the story: Sometimes it's good to get a second opinion.
Contact Justine Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.