A reader recently reached out to us about some health concerns. He explained that he was “exposed to carpet beetle larvae” for 8 months without knowing it. They were living in his work truck. He didn’t elaborate on the specific health concerns, but did send a few photographs (Note: the photographs are quite graphic). He asked us for any help we can offer, even if it is just directing him to someone who can address his concerns.
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The first photograph shows the tip of his finger. There is an open wound near the tip of the nail. We don’t see a worm or worm-like organism, but we do see a thin, hair-like black object near the wound.
The second photograph shows another of his fingers. There are white objects emerging from the open wound on the side of the fingernail. We aren’t sure if these are worms, worm-like organisms, or something else.
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We don’t think this man’s heath concerns are related to the carpet beetle larvae in his work truck. While a carpet beetle larvae infestation can be quite a nuisance and annoying to get rid of, they aren’t dangerous or harmful. Some people do develop Carpet Beetle Dermatitis, which is a rash or skin irritation that is the result of coming into physical contact with the hair-like bristles that cover a carpet beetle larva’s body. However, we don’t think our reader is experiencing Carpet Beetle Dermatitis because it is usually expressed as red bumps or a rash, not as open wounds.
Unfortunately we can’t offer any medical advice to our reader since we aren’t licensed medical professionals. We do think our reader should see a medical professional as soon as possible. In our experience, the best way to find a medical specialist who will be experienced in this sort of thing and able to help is to do an Internet search for: travel infectious diseases doctor (your location or the nearest big city). According to UCLA Health, infectious disease specialists “are called upon by other physicians to help diagnose the most complex and elusive cases and to develop strategies to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases affecting all parts of the body.”
To summarize, one of our readers reached out to us about some of his health concerns that are potentially worm-related. We encourage him to visit a travel infectious disease doctor to address these concerns.