Myiasis is a parasitic disease caused by an infestation of maggots or larvae of flies in several parts of the body. There are almost 100 types of flies that belong to the diptera order which may cause myiasis. Examples of species that can cause myiasis include the human botfly, sheep botfly and the tumbu fly. They typically gain entrance to the human body through open wounds, inhalation, ingestion of infected meat products, and sometimes, even through intact, unbroken skin. The infestation frequently affects the eyes, skin, ears and nose.
The manifestations of the disease usually depend on which part of the body the fly deposited its larvae. When it is in the eye, for example, the patient presents with severe eye irritation, pain, swelling of the eyelids, and tearfulness. He may also experience sensations of having a foreign body within the eye.
If myiasis affects the nose, the patient usually complains of nasal obstruction, frequent nosebleeds and difficulty swallowing. Foul smelling nasal discharges are also observed. Invasion of the ears, on the other hand, usually presents with smelly discharges from the affected ear. A patient may have the sensation of hearing buzzing noises as well. Skin disorders often show painful and itchy boil-like lesions at the scalp, legs, and face, and he may feel that something is crawling under his skin.
People who live or travel in tropical and sub-tropical countries such as Mexico, or continents such as Africa and South America, have higher chances of contracting myiasis. The incidence of the disease increases during the summer months. These flies mostly prefer warm and humid environments, which are ideal for their growth. Anybody can be infected with the condition, especially those who are fond of doing outdoor activities.
Internal medicine doctors who specialize in infectious diseases are often the physicians who diagnose and treat patients with myiasis. There are, however, no accurate diagnostic tests for myiasis. Doctors frequently diagnose these patients through the signs and symptoms they manifest, as well as through the pertinent information they solicit from the patients. Myiasis treatment involves thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the wound. Sometimes doctors remove the larvae surgically.
Myiasis can be prevented by eliminating its main source. Breeding places of flies must be destroyed through proper waste disposal and with the use of insecticides. Additionally, good personal hygiene, proper sanitation, and correct hand washing techniques are also important practices to be observed. Ironing of clothes before wearing them is another way of killing the eggs of flies.