Flesh-eating maggots discovered in vacationing woman's ear

A British woman said she "burst into tears" when doctors told her she had flesh-eating maggots living in her ear after a trip to Peru.

Rochelle Harris, 27, had started having severe headaches as she returned to England following her visit to the South American country with her boyfriend.

She developed sharp shooting pains down one side of her face and also began to hear strange scratching sounds in her head.

She woke up the next morning to find her pillow soaked in fluid.

Ms Harris went to (the emergency room) in Derby. Doctors thought it could be a minor ear infection, but she was referred to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) team.

The ENT specialist found a small hole in the ear canal and then discovered the maggots.

"I was very scared - I wondered if they were in my brain," Harris said. "I thought to myself 'This could be very, very serious.'"

An emergency brain scan showed no damage had been done to her ear drum, blood vessels or facial nerve.

But the medics did find that the maggots had chewed a 12 millimeter hole in her ear canal.

They tried to drown them by flooding the canal with olive oil but they survived and experts managed to remove two.

However, a further examination discovered eight maggots.

They were sent to a laboratory for analysis and it was discovered that a New World screw worm fly had laid eggs inside her ear.

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