March 31, 2003
I too was bitten and had to have surgery to remove my friend who I brought back from a cruise with an 8 hour stop in Costa Rica. After reading all of the stories mine is similar to several of them…except for the bitten area which is close to where Mark was bitten but I am a female so lets say it was about 6 inches below the belly button.
thank you for all the info on the subject and lets hope none of us need it again
Here’s what a bush doctor said works wonderfully:
Just take a little tobacco — or even heavily camphorated oil soaked in a small cotton packing — tape over vent hole — the worm comes out — 8 hours later pull off the tape — voila — one grub — no infection — everything OK.
I tell people here to apply “Tiger Balm” to every “bite” — as soon as they know it.
Tiger Balm is rich in camphor.
Might want to put that onto the page. he deals with them all the time….
April 29, 2003
After spending 10 days in the jungles of Belize, I returned home with two ‘bites’ on my butt. Thinking they were spider bites I left them alone only to have them get bigger and painful. About 4 weeks after getting back from Belize I went to see a doctor. He didn’t really know what they were, but suggested soaking them in warm water with Epsom salt. Well, I soaked in a tub of very hot water ( about as hot as could stand ) with Epsom salt for 45 minutes before I went to bed. The next morning…..surprise! Both bite areas had the dead larvae sticking out and both were thus very easy to express. I was too shocked and fascinated to be disgusted. I guess the combination of being soaked under water that was also very hot killed them. Just thought this may interest your readers as another possible way to get rid of them.
Loved your web site.
May 6, 2003
I am a special forces medic. I am in Bolivia right now. I saw the coolest thing yesterday. I was in a village when I was able to witness and film a bot fly larvae extraction. no one knew what it was, except the village people. I knew from my peculiar training exactly what it was. I just thought it was real neat to see it in person. it was on the top of 12 year old males head. it was about 1 inch long. they injected hydrogen peroxide in it. they say it kills it and/or forces it to come out. they were correct. that thing did not want to be in there after that. I wanted to read some more and found your site. maybe one day you can see the rare footage I shot.
Thank you very much for your web page. After four weeks of pain and doctors assuming I had a scalp infection we finally figured out I had 5 botfly sites. Your web page helped me to understand the nasty critter and determine a procedure for extraction. Mine were from Costa Rica.
Thanks for writing Barbara. How did you get them out? I just got an email today from a medic in Bolivia who filmed a 12 yr old getting larva’s removed from his head. They used hydrogen peroxide. What procedure did you have done to have them removed? What area of Costa Rica do you think you were bitten at? Mark knows it was near Volcano Arenal. Costa Rica is a very beautiful country, having experienced botflys will not keep us from going back.
Thanks again for the email.
I stayed in Arenal, but I also stayed in Monteverde and Puntarenas. I was on a hiking/birding tour so we were out in other areas in between. I think I got the bites when we were staying in Monteverde.
Mine were extracted with the help of several doctors in an outpatient clinic. The first one was taken out during a biopsy which was being done to determine what was wrong with my scalp. They discovered the air hole after the biopsy and mutilated the larva as they tried to get it out leaving some of it inside. They wanted pathology to figure out what it was. At that point we didn’t know about bot flies. We are watching that site carefully for infection. Then they sent me home with the other four still living in my scalp! The next day they successfully got #2 out with the petroleum jelly procedure. The last three were more stubborn and were finally removed surgically (after trying the meat procedure for a short time with no luck). They cut an X over the air hole and then pressed and pressed until the larva was aggravated enough to emerge. It took many fingers to keep enough pressure on all sides to keep the larva from going back in. My neck and shoulders are very sore from trying to keep up the resistance against the pressure. It took 2 1/2 hours to get those last four out. Fortunately my scalp had been numbed with lidocain (sp?) so that all I felt was the pressure. Each larva was about 2 cm long when it emerged and then shrunk to 1 1/2 cm after it lay on the table for awhile.
It will be awhile before I hike an area that has botflies again. However, I’m going on a Panama Canal Cruise in September which has a port in Costa Rica. I’ll use insect repellant this time and hope to have better luck. Since I wore a hat during most of the hikes, I am surprised that there was an opportunity. Do you know of any other precautions to take?
Thanks again for your website,
May 20, 2003
I went to the doctor about a lump in my scalp. I had been in Panama and thought it was a bug bite. He diagnosed it as a subcutaneous cyst and scheduled surgery for the beginning of June. Yesterday, I felt a sort of bump on my bump, though it was cyst material and–quel surprise–squeezed out a larva. (It never hurt while growing. I did and do have swollen glands on my neck on that side) .I was very disgusted. Thank heaven the same thing happened to my dog once or I would have been totally grossed out. So now I have a dermatologist appointment tomorrow to see if there are any more creatures. Thank you for the web site. I feel a little less grossed because of all the similar stories.
May 27, 2003
My boyfriend and I got back from Costa Rica 6 weeks ago and an hour ago he gave birth to a full grown botfly!! All joking aside this thing was really disgusting. We were hiking in the rainforest at the bottom of the Arenal volcano 5 days into the trip and during a stop to observe a large group of spider monkeys we both experienced the only mosquitoes bites we can remember getting during the whole trip. We have decided this is most likely the time he received when he received the little larvae. Two days after returning he had what we thought was a nasty, but normal, spider bite on his lower right leg. For the first two weeks it never improved, but didn’t seem to get much worse, just continued to itch. In the weeks to follow, the area became large; almost egg size, red, and a hole began to form in the center. The area around the hole was hard to the touch. A few tiny fluid filled blisters appeared around the outside. When he would squeeze it a fluid would come out but nothing would happen. The hole remained open all the time, never healing over. 5 weeks into it, this thing is visibly not a normal spider bit so he begins searching the internet under “Costa Rican Spider Bites”. To our shock the first site to pop up is Mark’s story and all the details match; the volcano, the pictures, and the time frame. So after calming down from the realization that he most likely has a ‘maggot’ like creature growing in his leg we decide to do all the things these sites tell us to do.
This was his first visit to a doctor who skeptically turned him away with an antibiotic as all the other stories suggested would happen.
Besides constantly trying to squeeze something out of there, our first attempt was 41/2 weeks into it. Neosporin and a band aid. For two days this did not show any results, except for improving the look of the area outside of the hole slightly.
The third night of following suggestions from other stories we smothered it in a pile of Neosporin for 2 hours which seemed to work for other people but not for this botfly just yet.
The fourth day into treating it (5 weeks and one day from the day we think he got it), he continued with the Neosporin and a band aid. Later that evening he removed the band aid to finally see results. One side of the creature was sticking out of the hole, squirming around for air. It remained out briefly and then randomly made appearances for the next few minutes while myself, and 3 or 4 other people could witness this thing in his leg.
At this point we decided to suffocate the thing by whatever means necessary. We lathered Vaseline about a half inch thick on the hole and waited. It took almost an hour before we saw it come up for air. At this time I stuck the tweezers into the mound of Vaseline and yanked on it. We both felt and heard a snap, but soon after, it was poking itself out again.
An hour and a half into it, we had attempted the Vaseline, then Elmer’s glue (which was to hard to see through and didn’t seem to show results), and finally a dab of super glue which hardened over the hole with what we thought was part of the body stuck inside the clear glue. We pulled that off, thinking we tore part of it off. We covered the hole with Neosporin and a band aid and called it a night.
This morning, to our surprise the thing was still moving around and making an appearance now and then.
We though we finally had enough proof for a doctor’s recognition, so he made another trip to the emergency room, who tried to send him to a surgeon, who then tried to send him back to the emergency room. US doctors did not want to deal with this at all.
After all of this failed, we resorted to the tweezers and Neosporin. Mid-day after pointless trips to see doctor’s, and 2 hours of observing the hole through random fluids the night before, he was able to grab a hold of the end of the botfly larvae with the tweezers and slowly pull. A long skinny portion came out first and then the end, a spiny round shape, popped out.
As long as there are no other larvae inside, this looks like the end of it!
June 12, 2003
Approximately 4-6 weeks after visiting Costa Rica, what I thought was an infected mosquito bite, turned into this. I pulled this out of my knee. I think the picture says it all. WOW!
June 15, 2003
I found your website after the fact of a botfly infestation. Since I am a travel agent, I feel responsible for telling clients how to seek immediate care if incubating a larva (although I try to be as tactful and reassuring as possible). Really weird problem. I was with a family group and no one else had a problem. I knew I got bitten and saw the distinctive pore opening, but had not clue (since I am such an optimist) of what was to come. I had the little larva for about a month in the undersurface of my upper arm. It only itched. Didn’t die with Chigger Aid treatment but eventually was persuaded to leave when I used a combination of Chigger Aid and fingernail polish. I was peeling off the airproof layer about to reapply a new coat (due to itching). Thought I was pulling off a layer of clear polish and actually caught the end of the larva (which must have been half dead and gasping for air) and pulled the larva intact from my skin. Since I had no idea I had a larval infestation, this “cure” was very upsetting in its own right. YUCK.
For others, I recommend identifying the characteristic pore opening very early (within a week of bite) and going to a dermatologist. The
doctor will inject a local anesthetic and remove the larva intact with little pain or damage to the person. Also, if you don’t look, you can
spare yourself the shock of what you’ve been incubating. YUCK.
Prompt correct diagnosis and professional removal is the least traumatic experience for those of us selected for botfly infestation.
You wrote a good article covering the subject.
I asked Betsy what country she had traveled too. Here is her reply:
Costa Rica in April 2003: Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio Rainforest. Subjectively believe the offending mosquito bite was at the last place during a patio dinner at the hotel. Of course no way to know for sure.
July 17, 2003
hi, my name is Anthony Cuccia and I was recently in an exchange program in Costa Rica for 6 months. After a weekend trip to playa samara with my friends I found a persistent mosquito bite on the right side of my lower back. The mosquito bit me through my hammock I was sleeping in at the time. For well over a month I believed the non healing bite to be just a bad mosquito bite and experienced sharp pains every now and then. I didn’t think much of it an learned to live with the bearable pain. One day I had had enough and decided to squeeze the bite until something happened. Upon squeezing the bite I saw a whiteness coming to the surface. As I squeezed harder a small larva shaped object, what I now know was a bot fly larva popped out and fell to the floor. Upon examination I realized it was still alive. The larva was all white with what appeared to be a black dot at one end (the hooks used for tearing flesh). I was a little weirder out but thought as long as there was no infection or other side affects I would be fine. In fact I thought nothing of it until I saw a program on the animal planet tonight and decided to research the web to see what I could find. I came across your story and I can now put my mind at ease. I am returning to live in Costa Rica this fall and I am now fully prepared to deal with any further bot fly incidents I may encounter. I appreciate the information you
have provided and I consider myself now informed.
July 20, 2003
Thank you for your informative site!!
I spent a few weeks in BELIZE and came home with one of those bites that just don’t go away… and leaked, hurt, and itched… Well, I tried all your stories’ solutions out… I couldn’t bring myself to get hacked up like my mom did after her botfly experiences (she’s had seven at one time cut out by a HMO surgeon), so I went at it myself… I tried the Vaseline, gobbed it on and then freaked out – realizing that truly I had something living inside me… then I was more determined than ever!!! squeezing wasn’t going to work… it was still rather small… and well dug in… I thought that the Vaseline was good, but then I put a thick clear packing tape over the Vaseline – it formed a solid window that the little guy could not penetrate to breath. It was really pissed off now… frantic to breath… but I gave up for the night… the next day I was obsessed. I bought a new scalpel and cut a cross into my flesh (keep it sterile folks) tried to squeeze it out and still firmly dug in… and pissed off more than ever… the tiger balm was really the winner though… gobbed on thick and covered with clear tape…. slept with it on and in the morning my flesh was soft and the little guy had finally given up his hold. This was easier than a trip to the doctor/butcher (who of course has never seen one before anyway) and it cost a whole lot less… My sore has healed up quite nicely…. Thank you again for sharing your stories… They really helped me – I hope mine will help the rest of you poor unfortunate, probably freaked out, worried, paranoid, stressed out, bot fly infested souls. It will get better… GOOD LUCK!! HAPPY HUNTING!!!
August 8, 2003
Dear Brenda and Mark:
One time my friend and his wife came to my home for BBQ with big bump in his upper back leg and said it was mosquito bite while vacationing in Belize. Mike told me he went to 3 doctors because the pain is bothering him and has been taking shots for antivirus…nothing worked… I myself as a veterinarian and am native of Brazil have seen bumps and other lesions like it and laughed explaining through mixed English with Sign Language ( I am Deaf but speaking well with 3 languages) to Mike. He did not believe and asked me to dol. put Vaseline around the affected region to block this little host from breathing and waited for 4 hours then squeezed and it got out…it was almost full grown berne ( I use it in Portuguese language same as botfly worm) Mike freaked out and wanting to go to Hospital. I calmed him down telling it was nothing and put antibiotic cream and band aid. They brought the little visitor to their doctor ( I heard he freaked out seeing it) and send it for further examination….It was botfly ( or mosca berneira). I grew up in Sao Paulo and always go to my father s farms .. I have seen cattle being infected by botfly, horses are almost rare unless in poor condition…I have been bitten by ticks, mosquitoes, etc…but never botfly …my sister was her victim. After what happened to Mark, the word goes around and more 2 people came here asking for the advice…I said Vaseline or hot wax around the wounded skin and wait for few hours making the little host loosen its anchors ,going up to breath, then squeeze it…without the necessity of having sugerical intervention unless something is critical.
August 30, 2003
I just wanted to write to you and thank you for your site. I had an encounter with a bot fly myself and it wasn’t fun. I went to Costa Rica to study Spanish for the month. We traveled on the weekends and to arenal Puerto Viejo and Manuel Antonio. When I got back my lymph nodes were swollen. I also thought I had a mosquito bite on my head. I went to the doctor. He though that it was a fungal infection so put me on antibiotics and gave me Neosporin. I returned when the lump on my head was growing and hurting. It was also discharging a rusty colored liquid. He referred me to a tropical disease doctor. He was booked for a month. I noticed a sharp strong pain in the area every once in a while for 10-30 seconds. It was unbearable. I went to the ER one night because my brother seen it and decided it would be a good Idea because It just looked like a hole. That and it was bleeding pretty bad for a week and the night before it ran all the way down my neck. When we get to the hospital the nurse passes it off as a bug bite and I sit for 5 hrs. The doctor who then treats me has no idea what it was. They took 10 tubes of blood to test and urine sample a chest x-ray and aspirated it with a two inch needle into my head. She then referred me to a clinic in Philly who doesn’t even deal with that….it was pre travel thing. My step mom was on the phone all day and found a doctor from Costa Rica who pretty much diagnosed it on the phone. They squeezed me in too see it the next day. They knew what it was and referred me to a surgeon. By this point it was living in my scalp for 8 weeks or so. The surgeon took me in the next day. I was awake during it. There was many people in the OR because they never seen anything like it before. When they cut open my scalp I heard them say “look how big it is” I was the talk of work! my school and the hospital. It was weird, it almost seems like it was a movie. I am not mad about it or turned away from Costa Rica from it at all. It all comes with traveling. Thank you again for your website……..It meant a lot to find info on such a hard subject to find info on.
September 8, 2003
Thanks! Your site is also a great link to send to gross out friends and families. I didn’t take any photographs of my botflies, so it is nice to have access to pictures. I was living in Belize when I got my botflies, so I luckily did not have to deal with baffled doctors. We were living in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye but had spent the Christmas holiday vacationing on the mainland. We spent a week hiking in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in hiking, waterfalls, birds or jaguars. We went hiking with a local guide one day; he was very knowledgeable about the plant and animal life- including the botfly. He told us about the botfly and got the expected response- we were all disgusted.
When we left the reserve, we thought we were only taking with us memories of jaguars, trogans and peccaries. As we sat at the bus stop outside of the reserve, I joked to my husband that I had some mosquito bites on the top of my head- maybe we were taking botflies too. We laughed, and it was almost two weeks before we discovered that this was true. Two weeks later our vacation was finished and we were back to our normal lives in San Pedro when the pain started. Lots of people on this site have described it. For me, it felt like there was something stabbing me repeatedly underneath the skin. It would come and go, and I didn’t know what to think of it. My neighbor and my boss both told me it was a botfly- in Belize they call them “beef worms”. I guess I was in denial because I didn’t do anything about it right off.
Meanwhile, I developed a serious case of bronchitis and several of my lymph glands started swelling. Maybe it was my body fighting off the foreign creature or maybe just coincidence. I went to a local doctor who treated the bronchitis and I showed the doc the botfly bumps. He told me that it looked like the worms had already escaped and just to watch the bumps for a while. I spent the next week too consumed with my bronchitis to worry about the worms- but the pain would still come and go so I knew they had to be alive.
Week three and I had pretty much recovered from my denial and I had totally recovered from the bronchitis. I knew I had worms in my head and started asking locals for remedies. I got many suggestions that all involved ways to suffocate the flies and then squeeze them out- some suggested using tobacco, others Vaseline, others tape. But, my husband was out of town that week and I was determined to wait for his return to help me squeeze them out. The fact that I waited so long to get it over with shows that either I didn’t want to face it or my pain, which was terrible, was not as bad as other people experienced on this site.
Finally, four weeks after we left Cockscomb Basin, my husband covered my bumps in tobacco. Immediately, one started to wiggle (I could feel it squirming around) and my husband squeezed it out. It popped right out and we stared at the little creature- a plump white worm with little black dots all around. And I do mean it POPPED out- I swear I could hear it.
The others were not so easy. We popped out four more that night that were not so eager to escape the tobacco. My husband had to push on my head with all his strength until I couldn’t stand the pressure any more. Sometimes the little white tip of a tail would pop out and then go back under again. If I may get really disgusting, one actually exploded half way out- we had to squeeze out the remainder of it separately.
I had a friend in from out of town, by the way, who was as excited as could be to witness this. I felt like a lab specimen.
After a grueling two hours of pushing out worms, I washed my head, cleaned it with alcohol, and went to sleep- content that the botfly ordeal was over. Withdrew away four of the little buggers and kept the fifth in a jar of alcohol and brought it to a local doctor the next day who confirmed that it was a botfly. My Belizean friends assured me that it was nothing to worry about. It turns out that it is pretty common in the jungle areas of the mainland.
But, it was not over. A week went by and I still had two large, painful bumps on the top of my head from which we had already squeezed botflies. I just assumed (denial again?) that my skin was still recovering from its ordeal and did nothing about it. One night, over four weeks after our trip, we were sitting on the beach having a drink when I felt one of them wiggling again. The pain was so intense that for a while I thought I might pass out. “This ends tonight!” I told my husband, and we went back home for a second two hour session of botfly removal. Without any tobacco or Vaseline, my husband pushed two more botfly worms out that night for a grand total of seven. And these last two were ugly creatures- big fat worms, about twice the size of the first five. I had to build up the guts to look at them. One of them was still alive when it came out and we put it in a plastic bag filled with alcohol where it remained alive, wriggling and rolling around, for a few hours.
We squeezed each bump on my head with no more results-nothing else came out but puss. Then I applied alcohol to the area for days afterwards- my Belizean friends told me that the most important thing to worry about is keeping the wound from becoming infected, especially if you use tobacco.
Since then, I wear a hat or a bandana on my head every time I go to jungle areas.
My name is Funmi Somefun, I just got back from holiday with my husband and children. We had traveled to Nigeria in West Africa for 2weeks.
We had a wonderful time, most of the holiday was spent in a city called Ibadan and then we traveled back to Lagos just 2 days before coming back to London. The morning after the first night we spent in Lagos I noticed that my daughters shoulders had been bitten by what I had supposedly thought were mosquitoes. She had a total on four bites on this one arm which I found quite strange, by the afternoon of that same day she complained that the arm was itching in the area of the bite.
On arriving back to London, the bites had become quite swollen and from time to time she cried that the hand was hurting her by clutching her arm just beneath the areas of the bite. I also noticed she had been bitten also under the armpit of the other arm. I called in to see my Doc to explain my concern and to let him know that I think there were some pores in the bites not knowing what they really were. He gave us some antiseptic cream cause he couldn’t really explain what it was.
Four days after arrival and nothing had happened and I had noticed my son also had been bitten on his side by his rib, I got pretty worried just wanting the boil or the pores to come out. My daughter however fell asleep on my legs that night and I tried to pinch open the biggest of this bites. To my amazement it seemed something was actually living that kept going back in, I was adamant and pressed harder and pulled this white with gray ring maggot out. I kept my calm and set to work on the four other bite and I pulled out a total of 5 maggots from my girl and 1 from my boy.
I sent them to the Doc’s today to get them on antibiotics but couldn’t tell him the events of the last few days regarding the maggots for fear of my children being used for experiments. My only concern now is that the area is still hard and I do fear if there is anything left in their, we also had some water come out of the bitten area after the maggots had been pulled out alive.
I decided to carry out a research and saw your web site and the stories by other people, I will appreciate any advice you can give and a prompt reply on my email address below.
Thanks ever so much.
September 29, 2003
It was funny, because we had watched a show on one of the nature channels that had a feature on the botfly just a few weeks before we noticed that the cat was infested. I thought it was one of the grossest stories I had ever seen and was happy that we live in the USA and didn’t have cattle (the story placed them overseas or only in cattle here).
We live in the country so people are always dropping off their unwanted cats around our house. She is one of five that we feed, but they will not allow us to pet them. We could not catch her to get her to the vet. We just had to let whatever was happening to her happen. We didn’t know it was a larva until it started coming out. The first to hatch had entered above her nose and took over her right eye socket. Her eye swelled up to about golf ball size. Her eyelid was sealed shut from the growth and the larva made a hole in her eyelid to come out. I just knew that she would have lost the use of her eye, but the exit wound healed and her eye seems to be fine (no discoloration and she follows movement with it). The second larva was on her chest. Of course, by the time that one starting getting big, we knew what to expect. It hatched last Fri. She is doing fine and healing well. From looking at pictures, it looks like the human larva is mostly white while the rabbit larva is dark gray/black. Using this as my diagnosis basis, it was a rabbit botfly. This is one of those stories that you are just dying to tell somebody, but at the same time, you realize how gross it will sound to most people.
Thanks for “listening.”
December 1, 2003
This was truly a one of a kind experience! One I hope to never repeat! My wife (Cheryl), four friends and I took a cruise in the first week of November. On the third day of the cruise (November 4) we stopped in Belize where we did cave tubing, which included a short walk through the forest. I don’t specifically remember getting bit by any mosquitoes, but on the return home (November 9) I recall having a handful of itchy “bumps” on my scalp. Of course, I simply assumed that they were mosquito bites, and, although Mom always told me not to as a kid, I scratched them until they would bleed a bit. The itching subsided a little during the following week, but the next weekend they were again quite annoying and itchy. Also, I noticed a hard bump behind my left ear (which I now know is one of my lymph nodes). It was not itchy, but was a bit tender. Cheryl insisted that I call the doctor to get checked out since it was worrying her. On the other hand I was not yet alarmed in any way until two days later (Tuesday, November 18) when I woke up during the night with a burning pain in my scalp. While I somewhat attributed the pain to my “bumps,” I began to wonder if this could be an early sign of the big C. Quite an unpleasant thought at the very least. At this point I began thinking of whether my life insurance policy was enough. That is, given the combination of the burning and the bump behind my ear.
Needless to day, I called my primary Doc on Wednesday afternoon, who said he could get me in on Monday. I thought. Hmmm, five days could be a long time if I have to deal with that pain, but since the stabbing pain had not returned on Wednesday (yet!), I figured the previous night’s fun may not be too much to be alarmed over. As such, on Wednesday I dealt with the itch that flared up occasionally, and did note that the hard bump behind my ear had increased a bit in size along with the five bumps on my scalp. Also, I now had lymph nodes visibly protruding out from the left side of my neck. Regarding the size of the bumps, the one behind my ear had increased to the size of a pencil eraser, while the ones on my head were about 2 cm in diameter and stood up about 1 cm. Again, I was still under the impression that these were just some Belizian mosquito bites that I had annoyed with all my scratching.
Wednesday night: imagine sleeping soundly, comfortable in a warm bed, refueling your body with its required sleep, simply happy in that most relaxed state. Nice. Now, slam the door shut on that coziness! I woke up to the most painful burning sensation I have EVER experienced. The only thing I can equate this pain to would be the feeling of someone drilling into your head with a red-hot, acid-dipped drill bit. I ran to the bathroom and tried looking in the mirror to see what was happening. Cheryl and I looked with two mirrors angled so that I could see that nothing was wrong with my head. I put ice on the bumps, I washed my head in water, but there was no relief. The burning would subside for 30 seconds and then flare up again. I pressed on the bumps trying to push the pain away, but it would get even worse upon stopping. The pain finally stopped after fifteen minutes, so we went back to bed. As you can imagine I was almost afraid to go back to sleep. However, I did and woke two more times during the night with the same experiences.
On Thursday morning (November 20) I noticed that the left side of my head was swollen and the hard bump behind my ear was disappearing beneath the swelling. I dealt with the pain flare-ups throughout Thursday at work. I discovered that the only thing to ease the pain was to yank on the hair around the area of the “bites.” Yes, I too, thought I was going insane from some infection I received in my head. However, now, there were pools of blood around the bumps that were forming large scabs. Thursday night was as bad as Wednesday. After my Friday morning shower I looked in the mirror and, aside from the fact that the left side of my face was clearly more swollen it appeared that my left ear was flared outward. I asked Cheryl to look at me to see if she saw anything wrong. After laughing for way too long, she said that my ear was sticking out. I contacted my doctor, explained that my symptoms were getting worse, and that I could not wait until Monday. I asked if he could see me today or if I should simply go to a walk in clinic. He suggested the walk in clinic (note: I will be changing doctors). Upon examination at the walk in, the on duty Doc (Dr. “B”) concluded that I had cellulitus of the scalp (skin infection). However, he did make note of my travel to Belize and that further investigation may be needed. I was sent home with 10 days of antibiotic. I experienced random flare-ups on Saturday and Sunday. There was green and yellow mucus infection fluid oozing from each of the sites. Monday the infection traveled to my forehead giving me a slight Frankenstein resemblance. By the following Friday (November 28), the burning had become more intermittent (or I was simply getting accustomed to it). The infection oozing had ceased and all of the swelling had subsided. I returned that evening to the same walk in and consulted with the on duty Doc (Dr. “L”). He concluded that the infection was gone, but the bumps were odd in that they had not healed at all. A quick blood test indicated that my blood count was normal. He cultured the oozing fluid and said he’d have results on Sunday. On Sunday he called and said the culture came back negative. However, my case perplexed him over the weekend and, based on notes that Dr. B wrote during my first visit to the walk in, decided to do some investigation. In short, he told me that he believed I had bot fly larvae under my scalp. He gave me all the same detail that I’ve now read on the Internet (transmitted on mosquitoes, random burning, etc.). At his request I saw him at the walk in again to view the sites for confirmation of his research.
He offered the usual solutions: wait for them to leave on their own (No way!), have them surgically removed (hmmm, doesn’t sound much better), put ground meat on the sites and wait for the bastards to leave (Now I’m hungry), or pack petroleum jelly on the sites requiring them to come out for air. I opted for the last method since it seemed to be the easiest option. He also prescribed another 7 days of antibiotic to be on the safe side.
Let’s just say Cheryl took some deep breaths at all this knowledge. Armed with her Vaseline she went to work on my scalp. It was about 15 minutes later when the burning came back, which I now understand that this is when the little guys are moving around. However, they weren’t running out of my head, as I expected. In fact it wasn’t until a few hours later that they were peaking out to get some air. Upon discovery of Brenda and Mark’s website and the many links, I thought it would be best to squeeze these nasty buggers from their little homes. As I said before, this was a one of a kind experience. After some blood, white liquid spatter, and cursing, I was able to produce five of those nasty little spiked maggots between 8 and 9 p.m. last night! In retrospect it’s rather funny at how these things popped out in the way that others have mentioned. I don’t know if we got better toward the end, but the last couple popped out of my head and hit the bathroom mirror with such force that the spatter left a very impressionable mess. In fact, after the last one was out Cheryl thought it would be a wonderful idea to take some footage of the thing with our camcorder. I don’t think I’ll be reviewing that tape anytime soon!
Overall, the experience is one that I would not like to repeat. I did have relief with the knowledge that these things were not deadly, but I do wish I discovered the information sooner because I wouldn’t have had to endure the pain for as long as I did.