Parasites are animals or plants which must live on (or in) another living organism to survive. They rely on host organisms to provide food, water, and ideal environment conducive for reproduction.

Some parasites are known to live inside human body, which will then affect the person’s health.

Parasites can enter human body when the person eats or drinks contaminated food or water, or they can live on the person’s hair and skin.

Some of the most well-known parasites include gut and stomach worms, skin mites, head and hair lice, and protozoa (single-celled organisms).

Most of those parasites are so small that they are only visible when seen under magnifying glass or microscope. This is not to say that animals can only enter a human body if they are of microscopic size.

There are some animals that are actually big enough to see with the naked eye yet they still find ways to enter a human body or at least live as parasites on the outer layer (skin).

For examples there are thousands of mites on your face at any given time. Mites are microscopic animals related to ticks and spiders. As horrendous as it may sound, there is nothing unusual about it.

During the day, those mites remain hidden in the follicles; and at night, they climb out to the surface to find mates. Mites on your skin and lice on your head can be the least of your problems. They are pale in comparison to the following cases of animals living inside humans.

Here are 10 disturbing stories of creatures living inside humans.

10 Botfly In The Eye

There are only very few things worse and more irritating that an animal getting inside your eye. If it is nothing but a small insect, the redness and temporary blindness are usually easy to treat.

Indeed some insects seem to have tendencies to fly where they don’t belong, including human eye. In most cases the insects will die within minutes and get washed out by tears. Eye irritation heals on its own without medication or medical treatment.

But for a 5-year-old boy in Honduras, the insect inside his eye was a botfly, a much more resilient and parasitic bug than a typical eye gnat. A botfly is a selfish parasite; the female lays her eggs on another living organism, for example a mosquito which will then drop the eggs to a larger animal.

When the eggs finally hatch, the larvae can feed on the host animal. Some botflies prefer to live inside warm-blooded animals including humans. In many cases, a botfly inside the eye should be an easy fix that requires minor surgery.

Unfortunately for the boy, the eggs had hatched and grown into a late-stage larvae in his anterior orbit. The live botfly was successfully removed by an Air Force mobile ophthalmic surgical team.

9 Worms In Your Retina

John Matthews was going blind and he did not know why. He noticed two spots that obscured his vision, particularly in his left eye. Following an examination by specialists, it was determined that he had a raccoon worm living inside his retina. The parasite might have been there for three months.

Doctors in the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics found the worm and shot two rounds of laser blasts to kill it. Mathews also claimed that he could actually see the worm moving inside his eye trying to dodge the laser.

But the procedure did kill the worm, saving Matthews from permanent blindness if not death. The doctors said that Matthews could have accidentally ingested the worm while he was in Mexico during turkey hunting.

The worm was only about 1/20-inch long, but it was a beast nonetheless as it was moving and eating the retina from the inside. Parasitic infections occur pretty frequently around the world. While the eyes are not the most commonly infected organ, cases like Matthews’ had happened before.

8 Squid Sperm In The Mouth

Botfly or retina-eating worm in the eye is terrifying to say the least, but those wouldn’t be the only gruesome evidence of how disturbing creatures could find ways into a human body. A 63-year-old woman had not known what she was getting herself into when she happened to eat partially cooked piece of squid.

While some people do like eat raw seafood for health reasons or other dubious beliefs, raw seafood could be a dangerous meal.

The South Korean lady claimed to feel strange pricking sensation after she had bitten down a parboiled portion of a cephalopod menu. As it turned out, the internal organs of the squid remained intact thanks to the brief cooking process. She spat it out immediately but it was too late anyway.

Pods of squid semen burst into her mouth, and somewhat impregnated the mucous membranes of her gums, cheeks, and tongue. Doctors later removed 12 bug-like organisms from her mouth. While the 12 creatures had no tentacles or eyes, they were all products of squid’s sperm.

7 Maggots In The Ear

Catherine McCann was admitted to Lutheran Home for the Aged in Arlington Heights, Illinois in 2012 at the age of 92. She suffered from severe Alzheimer, rendering her unable to speak or care for herself. In this nursing home, it was discovered that her left ear had been infested with maggots for several days.

McCann had an enlarged ear canal from a surgical procedure performed decades earlier. The ear canal required periodic treatment such as flushing of the ear and antibiotics to prevent infections. Nine days before the maggots were discovered, a doctor had prescribed drops for four times a day to remove wax buildup.

The last dose of the drops had been administered the evening before maggots were found in her left ear. She was later moved to Northwest Community Hospital for further treatment.

Doctors in the hospital removed not just one or two maggots from her ear, but all 57 of them. An independent professional hired by her family determined that the maggots had been in McCann’s ear for about three days.

6 Larvae Also In The Ear

In May 2017, an unidentified patient approached Dr. Vikram Yadav, apparently a popular doctor thank to his many pimple-popping videos. He was a dermatologist based in Faizbad, India.

The unidentified patient complained about buzzing sounds in his ears.  After an examination, Dr. Yadav determined that the patient suffered from aural myasis, a condition in which a person’s nose or ears are infested with fly larvae.

A common symptom is that patient often hears buzzing sound in the ears accompanied by smelly discharge. The doctor said that the larvae looked like wiggling mass inside the patient’s ear. The larvae were feeding on the flesh in the inner eyes, and they would have continued to burrow into the brain and killed the patient, if left untreated.

Dr. Yadav first suffocated the larvae so they fled to the entrance of the ears. He continued by removing one or two larvae at a time using tweezers. He successfully removed hundreds of larvae. Another thing to remember is that aural myasis is not a rare condition; in fact, it is common especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

5 Cockroach In The Ear

A man from Darwin, Australia named Hendrik Helmer was forced to seek medical attention after he felt an agonizing pain from inside his ear. He actually thought that an insect somehow crawled into his ear canal, causing him so much pain.

Helmer even tried to use a vacuum cleaner in the hope that whatever animal was inside his ears would be forced out and into the appliance. It did not work as intended, and in fact only seemed to make the creature angry, causing more severe pain.

Later on the pain would only get worse, as the warehouse worker felt that the animal burrowed deeper into his ear. In few occasions, he couldn’t even keep his balance while standing up.

The good thing was that he decided to go to the Royal Darwin Hospital to get medical treatment where a doctor poured olive oil into his ear canal. The oil actually had forced the animals to burrow deeper before it finally suffocated and died. The doctor used a pair of forceps to pick remove the animal; it was an inch-long cockroach.

4 Plants Growing In The Lungs

In August 2010, Ron Sveden from Massachusetts was admitted to a hospital due to collapsed lung. Indeed he had been suffering from a severe cough for quite a long time. He even thought that a tumor was the underlying condition of his illness.

Following weeks of tests and examinations, Sveden actually expected to hear cancer diagnosis, but it turned out the underlying problem was something else entirely. It was not tumor or infection of any kind, but a small pea plant. It was about half an inch long, but still it was growing inside his lung.

The doctors told him that he must have eaten a pea which then went down the wrong way. The warm and moist condition of the lung was ideal for the plant to sprout and grow. The 75-year-old retired teacher from Brewster underwent a surgery to remove the plant. It was a successful surgery and Ron recovered at home.

3 Fish In The Lung

It is not uncommon for children to accidentally swallow dirt or even small insects while playing outside, whether or not there is an adult to supervise them. Usually such instances are not dangerous that they require immediate medical attention or even surgery.

But a 12-year-old Anil Barela took it to another level in 2012. While he was playing in a river in Khargone District located in central India, he accidentally swallowed something bigger, a nine-centimeter long live fish.

Now in most cases, the fish would eventually die as it enters a person’s metabolism system, but it turned out the fish took another route and ended up in the boy’s lung.

After he had been admitted to a hospital, doctors performed a bronchoscopy and saw that the fish was still alive. Before the procedure ended, however, the fish had taken its last breath. The procedure restricted lungs function and therefore limited the intake of oxygen. The fish was surgically removed and the boy was well.

2 Live Fish In The P*nis

In a bizarre medical case, a two-centimeter long fish was found in the p*nis of a 14-year-old boy from India.

Following a 24-hour period of agonizing pain in the area from an acute urinary retention and dribbling urine, the boy was then admitted to a hospital. As strange as it may sound, the boy said that the fish slipped into his p*nis while he was cleaning his aquarium.

Professor Vezhaventhan and Professor Jeyaraman, the medical professionals in charge of the boy’s treatment, later described that when the boy was cleaning his aquarium, he was holding a fish in his hand and then went to toilet for passing urine; the fish slipped off his hand and entered his urethra.

The fish was successfully removed using a method called cystourethroscopy, but this time the professors utilized rigid ureteroscope with a specialized tool attached to it (normally used for the removal of bladder stone) because the fish was too slippery to grip.

1 Eels In The Bladder

In 2011, a Chinese man was forced to undergo an emergency surgery to remove a live animal from his urethra. It was not particularly small animal either, but a 6-inch long eel. Zhang Nan was 56 years old when he would indulge in a supposedly therapeutic bath or spa.

Instead of using flowers or other aromatic herbs, he was bathing with live eels. He assumed or someone else convinced him that the eels would eat away layers of dead skin as a form of rejuvenation method. It was similar to the peculiar pedicure method in which live fish are used as tools to remove dead skin from people’s feet.

The biggest difference was that Zhang Nan was fully submerged and probably had no clothing at all. Even if he had worn some clothing to cover his genitals, the eels would have been probably too slippery anyway.

According to his claim, he tried to pull the eel out, but the animal was too slippery. Based on that account, he must have seen part of the eel’s body entering his p*nis.

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