Bengaluru doctors remove 145 maggots from nose, eyeball of black fungus patient

The maggots were removed from a 65-year-old woman mucormycosis survivor Covid-19 from Tamil Nadu at SS Sparsh Hospital in Bengaluru.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Sep 20, 2022 | 2:33 PM Updated Sep 20, 2022 | 5:14 PM

Doctors operating on a patient

A 65-year-old survivor of Covid-19 and mucormycosis from Tamil Nadu was rushed to a private hospital in Bengaluru, and had nearly 150 larvae (maggots) of houseflies from her nose and eyes.

Doctors at SS Sparsh Hospital in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar removed those maggots, and the patient is now said to have recovered.

Maggots are baby flies at a stage where they are yet to grow wings and legs, and hence cannot fly.

They thrive in chronic, poorly healing wounds as these are perfect places for maggots to grow.

All it takes is one fly to land on a wound for a few seconds, and it lays hundreds of eggs there, which can then develop into maggots.

How are maggots formed in the nose?

Dr Manjunath MK, from SS Sparsh Hospital in Bengaluru

Dr Manjunath MK, from SS Sparsh Hospital in Bengaluru. (Supplied)

Explaining this further, Dr Manjunath MK, a consultant ENT surgeon at SS Sparsh Hospital who was the leading surgeon in this case, told South First that though this is the rarest-of-the-rarest of cases, such sporadic cases have been seen in several patients.

He said that when a mosquito or housefly usually lands on human skin, people get the sensation and try to drive it away.

But in the case of mucormycosis (black fungus infection) patients, the skin is hardened and loses sensitivity. When houseflies land, they lay eggs. Once these eggs are hatched, the maggots damage tissues.

He explained, “With roomy nasal cavities, there is increased crusting, and if this is associated with loss of sensation in the nose, it becomes a breeding ground for flies to lay eggs.”

The doctor added: “When they hatch into maggots, they start eating the flesh inside the body and cause great damage to surrounding tissues, including the eye, as in our patient’s case.”

How did maggots form in this mucormycosis survivor?

Palaniamma (name changed), a native of Tamil Nadu, received treatment a year ago for mucormycosis after Covid-19 in her native town.

She even underwent surgery to remove dead tissue from the nose, resulting in a wide nasal cavity on the left side.

Manjunath said, “Wide nasal cavities are more prone to secretions, and if nasal douching is not practised to maintain hygiene, then foul-smelling secretions can attract files that lay eggs within the nose, which eventually hatch into maggots.”

Palaniamma developed this condition and she was treated for this three months ago, which worked to an extent.

However, due to poor hygiene, she developed a severer condition a few weeks ago and was rushed to SS Sparsh Hospital on 28 August.

She was completely blind in her left eye, and also had a history of nasal bleeding and swelling on her left eye for three days.

What did the doctors find?

The team of doctors who investigated Palaniamma found about 110 maggots in her nose, which were removed on the day she was admitted. The associated dead tissues were also removed.

However, her eye was completely dead and was causing excruciating pain. She sought the removal of the maggots from her eyes as well.

The doctors removed about 35 maggots from the patient’s eyeball. She is now said to be in a stable condition and even came for a follow-up checkup, and is recovering, said the doctors.

In August, a team of doctors from Hyderabad’s Century Hospital removed 150 maggots from a 50-year-old woman’s nose.

She was also a Covid-19 and mucormycosis survivor. She was in a coma and delirious when she reached the hospital.