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>> Imagine having this translucent worm, 14 of them in fact, in your eye. That's what happened to a 26 year old Oregon woman, the first known person worldwide to become infected with a parasitic worm species perviously seen only in cattle.
e finding was first published Monday. Reuters General News Editor, Scott Malone.
>> After experiencing eye irritation, the woman noticed a small worm in her eye. She had 14 of them extracted by doctors over a 20-day period before her symptoms subsided. What's potentially alarming about this, say researchers, is that humans and particularly those living in North America may be more vulnerable to these types of infections than previously thought.
>> The parasitic worms, known as the Thelazia gulosa species, are less than half an inch long each, and until now have spread solely among cattle by flies that feed on eyeball lubrication. Scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control said the woman was likely exposed to the infection through outdoor summer activities.
If the worms remain in a person's eye for a prolonged time, they can cause corneal scarring or even blindness. The study's lead author said it was thought there were only two different species of eye worms that infected humans worldwide. Thelazia gulosa is now the third.