A holiday tale to make your skin crawl: Couple on dream Amazon trip infected with flesh-eating parasites (and they can't go home to Australia until they're cured)
Ally Vagg and boyfriend Bryan Williams got mosquito bites on Amazon trip
Fly larvae penetrated bites to live under their skin, feeding on their flesh
Parasite could hatch into maggots and crawl out of their skin within weeksAustralian couple stranded in Bolivia until they are free of the parasite
16:43 GMT, 10 January 2013
19:44 GMT, 10 January 2013
For Ally Vagg and her boyfriend Bryan Williams, their trip to the Amazon basin was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime.
And it has been just that – but for all the wrong reasons.
The couple, from Australia, are now stranded in Bolivia and are not allowed to return home after contracting a rare flesh-eating parasite.
Ally Vagg and her boyfriend Bryan Williams are stranded in Bolivia, unable to return home due to contracting a rare flesh-eating parasite
After suffering from irritated skin, they initially thought they were simply suffering from mosquito bites – a standard occurrence in that part of the world.
But then, to their horror, both Ally and Bryan started to feel something squirming under their skin
and occasionally poking its head out of some of the open wounds.
It was then they were diagnosed with the human bot fly
infection, according to The Gold Cost Bulletin.
While their wounds probably did start as mosquito bites, the theory is the insects were carrying bot fly eggs. These dropped into the wounds caused by the mosquito bites before the larvae then hatched under the skin.
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 bees
The couple, who live in Sydney, are now stranded in Bolivia until they are free of the parasites.
It's thought that up to 50 eggs could be living in each wound.
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.
'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 told the newspaper.
The newspaper reports that they have already pulled seven of the worm-like larvae from wounds on their stomach, back and legs.
Mr Williams is also said to have spent days with tape over his stomach wound, a method used to starve the larvae of air and draw them to the surface.
During another attempt to remove the parasites his friend pulled out three of the inch-long larvae.
He said: 'We all nearly puked. Repeatedly.'
The pair may also need minor surgery to remove the remaining parasites.
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.
THE BOT FLY: THE GRUESOME CONSEQUENCES…
A female bot fly captures a mosquito and attaches its eggs to its body before releasing it.
The mosquito then carries the eggs and when it bites an animal's skin, will drop the eggs and they burrow under the skin's surface.
They stay just below the surface to breathe, and the most common
treatment is to cut off their air supply with vaseline – so they will
Untreated, they can burrow too far down and need to be cut out before they develop into flies.
Contracting the condition is highly unlikely, and the only reported
cases are from tropical areas, mainly Africa and South America.
Dr Ron Behrens of the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases said: 'It can occur in anyone. A mosquito drops the bot fly's eggs
onto the skin. The bot fly doesn't come into contact with the person,
the mosquito does it, as a third party.
'The pupae then burrow under the skin – often the scalp, legs or groin
area – and feed off it, but stay close to the surface so they can
'Flies can also lay their eggs on clothing hanging out to dry, so we
recommend ironing it beforehand, if you're staying in a tropical area.
'They would have been growing bigger under this man's skin, which makes
it very painful. After a couple of weeks they develop into flies, and
are moving around – which is very unpleasant. But luckily it can be