Small Bumps in Woman's Face Turn Out to Be Migrating Parasite

A woman began noticing bumps above her eye, which turned into a swelling of the lip.
A woman began noticing bumps above her eye, which turned into a swelling of the lip.(The New England Journal of Medicine ©2018)

The 32-year-old woman believes she contracted the parasite after she was bitten by mosquitoes.

A 32-year-old woman with bumps that appeared to be moving around her face was horrified to discover they were actually a parasitic worm.

The bumps first started appearing around her face after a visit to a rural area outside Moscow. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, she recalled being bitten by mosquitoes during the trip.

Over the next two weeks, the unnamed woman said she started seeing small nodules around her face.

First, a small bump appeared below her left eye

She first noticed a bump below her left eye. - (The New England Journal of Medicine © 2018)

Five days later, three small bumps appeared above her left eye.

About 10 days after that, her upper lip swelled up.

Dr. Vladimir V. Kartashev of Rostov State Medical University in Russia explained she didn’t report any concerning symptoms, but he suspected it was a parasite after seeing a series of her selfies.

"I had previous experience," Karatashev told “The nodules occasionally caused a localized itching and burning sensation, but otherwise she had no symptoms.”

Karatashev identified the parasite as Dirofilaria repens, a roundworm more commonly found in dogs.

The bumps turned out to be a 9-millimeter-long parasite. - (The New England Journal of Medicine © 2018)

While he said there were no tests he could run on migrating parasites still in the skin, he was able to secure its position with forceps and cut it out through a small incision. Karatashev said the parasite ended up being about 9 millimeters, or a third of an inch, long.

“Just after the surgery, she fully recovered," he said.