(RNN) – A newlywed returned home from her Caribbean honeymoon with more than photographs and sweet memories. Something was burrowing underneath her skin.
The 36-year-old Florida woman went to multiple doctors complaining about a hard, itchy bump on her groin. She said it appeared after her honeymoon in Belize, two months earlier.
She was prescribed antibiotics, but when the wound wouldn’t go away, she went to get a second opinion.
Doctors at Tampa’s Memorial Hospital thought the lesion might be a cyst or a lymph node problem, but it was a living creature that burrowed itself underneath the woman’s skin.
The case was uncovered in the Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports in early October.
Dr. Enrico Camporesi, who treated the woman and is the report’s author, said the skin around the lesion was hard as if there were an egg or bean below, but he suspected much more and decided to get a surgeon to take a closer look, Live Science reports.
Comporesi’s suspicion was confirmed when surgeons later removed what they identified as a human botfly larva, which is essentially, a maggot.
Researchers said the lesion was completely healed after the woman came back a week later for a follow-up.
According to the case study, after 27 to 128 days the larva normally drops to the ground, maturing into an adult botfly, looking something like a bumblebee.
The case study notes that in some cases patients can feel the larva moving when they shower or cover the wound.
In places like Belize where botfly maggot implantation is common, locals will trap the larva underneath the skin by placing petroleum jelly, bacon strips, nail polish, or plant extracts over the entry point, according to the case study.
After several hours, the maggot usually suffocates and emerges from the skin head first, then the locals will use tweezers to extract it.
However, there are times when the maggot will not come out on its own, and surgical removal is necessary.
The botfly is rare in the U.S. but very common in tropical regions of the Americas like Central and South America, Mexico and Northern Argentina.