January 08, 2013 12:00AM
SYDNEY woman Ally Vagg and her boyfriend Bryan Williams are living a South American nightmare, stranded in Bolivia because they are infected with rare flesh-eating parasites that crawl out of their skin.
Ms Vagg, 28, and her Gold Coast boyfriend had returned from a dream trip to the Amazon basin last month with what they thought were infected mosquito bites.
WARNING: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH
But when the pair started to feel something squirming under their skin and occasionally poking its head out of some of the open wounds, the couple made the horrific discovery that they had ntehuman bot fly infection.
Fly larvae had been living under their skin, feeding on their flesh. The maggots eventually crawl out of the host body and become large densely haired bot flies that resemble bumblebees.
Ms Vagg and Mr Williams, who have already pulled seven of the worm-like larvae from wounds on their stomach, back and legs, said they had battled language barriers, “useless” doctors and a third world medical system in Bolivia.
According to medical advice on the bot fly, up to 50 eggs could be living in each wound.
The fly deposits its eggs on to a carrier insect like a mosquito and the larvae penetrate the human host’s unbroken skin when the carrier lands.
Mr Williams, who was born in Tamworth and relocated to the Gold Coast 11 years ago, spent days with tape over his stomach wound, a method used to starve the larvae of air and draw them to the surface.
“I lifted my shirt to see the head of it crawling at the top of my skin looking like a worm or fishing bait,” Mr Williams said.
“That was it, I proceeded straight to the emergency to get it removed.
“The doctor spoke only Spanish, it was 11pm at night and he had never seen this thing that I claimed to have before.”
After several attempts to extract the larvae at his accommodation, Mr Williams’ friends finally pulled out three of the inch-long larvae.
“We all nearly puked. Repeatedly.”
There is a chance the pair may have to undergo minor surgery to remove the larvae.
“I am going to the tropical disease doctor for full removal, I don’t care if he cuts a dinner plate hole in me with no anesthetic,” Mr Williams said, who “I can feel it move.”
Local travel doctors said bot fly infection was rare in Australia but tourists occasionally returned from Central and South America with sores that failed to heal because they were infected with the larvae.
The couple hope to return to Australia in mid to late February but must remain in Bolivia until at least next month when they expect to be fully healed.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
29715 59339141 59
his path of destiny = 59 = Game over. Personal meltdown.
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