All Policies Include Coronavirus Cover

Coronavirus FAQs

Questions about cover for coronavirus? Read our FAQs and find out what our policies can do for you. If you would like to contact us, please note we are currently only available 09:00 to 17:30 Monday to Friday due to reduced operational capacity. Thank you.

Flesh-eating maggots in woman's ear

22 July 2013 09:32

A woman was found to have flesh-eating maggots inside her ear after a trip to Peru

A woman was found to have flesh-eating maggots inside her ear after a trip to Peru

A British woman who began to hear strange scratching sounds in her head after a holiday in Peru has spoken of her terror when told there were flesh-eating maggots inside her ear.

Rochelle Harris, 27, suffered headaches on the flight home after the holiday of a lifetime in Peru.

Within hours Rochelle, from Derby, had developed excruciating shooting pains down one side of her face and started to hear strange scratching sounds in her head.

She explained her symptoms to doctors after attending her local Accident and Emergency department at Royal Derby Hospital who referred her to the ear nose and throat (ENT) team for further investigation.

The bombshell news was delivered by an ENT specialist who fell silent while examining Rochelle's ear.

Rochelle was accompanied by her mother during the 60-minute examination.

She said: "Mum asked her 'can you see what it is?' and the doctor said 'if you don't mind I'd prefer to speak to the registrar before I tell you anything'.

"My mum said 'please tell us' and that's when the doctor said 'you've got maggots in your ear'. I burst into tears instantly."

The case highlights the importance of taking out medical travel insurance before going abroad.

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

Doctors tried to get the maggots out, but they retreated into Rochelle's head. Then they tried to drown them by flooding the ear canal with olive oil - but astonishingly the larvae were still alive the next day. Two were eventually removed but doctors feared there may be one remaining.

Rochelle was sedated and surgeons explored her ear using a microscope and speculum.

They were shocked by what they found.

Rochelle was in fact hosting a family of eight large maggots.

These were removed and immediately sent to a lab for analysis where it was discovered that a New World Army Screw Worm Fly had laid eggs inside her ear.

Rochelle's ordeal features in a new documentary series, Bugs, Bites and Parasites, on the Discovery Channel.