Holidaymaker discovers six centimetre long FLATWORM trapped in her arm when she returns from Malaysia
Holidaymaker noticed an itchy lump in her arm in July but didn't get it check until SeptemberDoctors believe she contracted parasite eating undercooked fish or meat
Lump is pain-free until doctors probe it, when it becomes irritated
17:17 GMT, 24 September 2012
A holidaymaker returned from Malaysia with a six-centimetre flatworm lodged in her arm.
Emily Buckley, 28, now faces surgery to remove the parasite at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Doctors treating Emily said flatworms, linked to undercooked fish and meat, are found in the digestive system but they've never encountered one in a patient's arm before.
Ms Buckley displays her arm, which was infected by a 6cm-long flatworm while she was working abroad
Ms Buckley, from Wrexham, said: 'Everybody is shocked when they see it, but I feel really laid back about it all.
'I've heard horror stories of people dying from parasites; I know I'm in the best possible hands.'
Emily travelled to the Perhentian Islands last May with her brother, Joseph Buckley, 25, boyfriend, David Phillips, 28, of Pen y Lan, and David's friend, Kristoffer Owens, 29, of Borras.
David and Kristoffer were resident
musicians at the Shari-La hotel, where the friends also stayed, and
where Emily helped to prepare food for guests.
Emily also has a flatworm in her gallbladder, which is being scanned in hospital in this photo
Emily Buckley with boyfriend David Phillips. She rescued a 15-month-old pigtail macaque monkey, but doctors don't think she picked up the infection from it
FLUKES: A DEADLY PARASITE THAT FEEDS ON BLOOD
Parasitic flatworms feed on blood, tissue fluids, or pieces of cells inside the bodies of their hosts.
An infection by a flatworm, known as a fluke can occur in the digestive tract as well as other organs such as the liver.
Emily has a type of flatworm known as a fluke, which infects the blood and organs.
They can lay so many eggs that the tiny blood vessels of the host's intestine break open, with blood and eggs then passing through the digestive system.
A person can become infected by consuming uncooked fish or plants that have lived in fluke-infested waters.
Symptoms can include a rash, fever, diarrhoea and wheezing.
Left untreated, infected people can become terribly sick and die from the infection or because they can't recover from other conditions.
doctors originally suspected Emily contracted the 'fluke' parasite – a
flatworm which usually inhabits the digestive system – after she rescued
a 15-month-old pigtail macaque monkey and nursed it back to health.
Now they believe the most likely
cause was contact with undercooked fish or meat. Emily said: 'Doctors
said they have never seen anything like this before.
'They say that it's lost its way
around my body and has ended up in my arm. I think they're going to keep
it for research purposes after they remove it.'
The pub manager first noticed a lump in her arm in July. It is pain-free, except when doctors probe it, then Emily feels a tingling sensation.
'It gets very itchy and irritable after the doctors have been looking at it,' said Emily.
'In Malaysia all of the locals were telling me I should get it taken out but I was in the island way of life and I couldn't really be bothered.
'Every day it was just growing, but it wasn't painful so I didn't think to get it checked out.'
Emily returned to the UK at the beginning of September when her GP referred her immediately to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. There doctors also discovered a second parasite in her gall bladder and evidence of a third, different kind of parasite – eggs in her stool.
Emily can take tablets to remove these from her system.
The couple, who also travelled to Australia and India during their 16-month break, are already planning their next trip.
The operation is to be filmed by the Discovery Channel for a documentary next March.