A man contacted us with reports of drain fly larvae latching on to his clothing and skin and causing all sorts of symptoms. He does not pose any questions directly, nor does he attach any photos, but we will relay his story nonetheless.
To start off with, we need to make clear that we will not be able to confirm or deny our reader’s identification of these organisms, nor can we provide alternative suggestions for identifications. This is because our reader describes a situation that is clearly medical in nature, and since we are not medical professionals, it is not within our qualifications to provide direct answers or advice on this matter.
That said, we do urge our reader to consult a medical parasitologist, as he mentions concerns about parasites, and a physician who specializes in this field will be better equipped and more qualified to help him with this issue. We recommend that he tells them all of the same information that he told us, as well as show them the pictures he says that he possesses. We also urge him to keep an open mind when consulting a physician, and not be set on these being drain fly larvae. The fact is that drain fly larvae are not parasitic, and have not been known to latch onto skin, or clothing, for that matter.
So, what we can recommend is that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in his area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
We should note that both Dr. Amin and Dr. Savaliya are available for online consultation, so our reader does not need to travel to their physical offices to receive help.
In addition to this, our reader does note that he has been to see a doctor already, but we want to clarify that a medical parasitologist is far better equipped to deal with a parasitic infection than a primary care doctor or an ER doctor. This is because those doctors typically do not receive training in medical parasitology, and so, as unfortunate as it is, it is not uncommon for them to turn away patients who need help with parasitic infections.
Now, we will get into our reader’s story. According to him, the drain fly larvae are black and hairy, and spit “egg spores out” as they latch onto clothing and skin. Following this, they “burrow into the bloodstream and start eating red cells.” He writes that although the immune system will fight and destroy the larvae, it will also destroy “cells with parasites,” though we are not quite sure what he means by this. “And then the eggs that do hatch get pushed out of the belly, up or sideways.”
The larvae look like worms and have two antennae, as well as legs which look like hair, are short in front, and long in the back. The larvae will “splash out of the drain”, and “if they don’t get a host, they dry up and die.” However, “then a little red bug comes walking out” which is “looking to burrow.” The creatures are “very aggressive and make sores that always test positive for bacterial infections/MRSA (one of the causes of staph infection). Our reader also mentions using baking soda and vinegar to “cook him out”, though we are not sure what this refers to.
In conclusion, we suggest that our reader consult a medical parasitologist to get the answers he is looking for. We also suggest that, when he does consult a physician, he show them the pictures he took, as well as clarify any of the points that were not clear in his submission to us. We wish him the very best.