A strange case of eye worm reported this week in a 26-year-old Oregon woman may have some ranchers squeezing their peeps shut. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene released their case report on Abby Beckley, a Brookings, Oregon woman who discovered worms in her eye that typically feed on cattle tears.
The case report says a total of 14 worms were removed from the patient’s left eye and were morphologically identified as being Thelazia gulosa. Until now, only two species of Thelazia have been implicated in causing human disease, Thelazia callipaeda in Asia and Europe and occasional reports of Thelazia californiensis from the United States of America. This type, T. gulosa (the cattle eyeworm), however is a previously unreported parasite of humans and the first reported case of human thelaziasis in North America in over two decades.
Bradley, who was working as a summer deck hand on a 58-foot commercial fishing boat near Prince of Wales Island when she made the discovery, thinks she may have been infected while working at a Southern Oregon cattle ranch earlier this summer.