“I went to take a bath before work and felt something moving on my knee”, writes this reader about the white, worm-like creatures pictured below. “I grabbed it, thinking nothing of it and it started squirming in my fingers. I found 11 of them in the water with me, and I clean my tub before every bath I take. My boyfriend later that night took a bath, and not a single sighting of one, and I extensively looked! It was small, short, and white with a brown head. Is it me who is infected or my water?” To begin with, we think our reader found some kind of insect larva in her tub, as that is what these most resemble. What species in particular is hard to say, as a white body with a dark head is about as generic a description as you can find of an insect larvae: beetles, moths, and flies all share larvae that fit this description.
Now, when it comes to her question, as to whether she or the water is infested, this is not something we can answer outright. The reason for this is that, if our reader at all suspects that the creatures did come from her body, then this situation would be medical in nature. Since we are not medical professionals, we are not qualified or legally able to identify organisms of this nature. Our reader does not mention any accompanying symptoms, but in any case, if she begins to suspect for whatever reasons that these worms did come from her body, or that they are affecting her health, then we recommend she consult a medical parasitologist: a physician who is specifically trained to treat people who are dealing with organisms living inside or on their bodies.
To find a medical parasitologist, our reader can do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in their 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 be in the vicinity of their physical offices to get help! If her physician concludes that these are parasites, then our reader should disregard what we said about insect larvae. However, if her physician concludes that these are not parasites, and are not harmful to her, then we would still say that these are insect larvae.
So, if these are insect larvae, then how did they get into her tub all of a sudden? Normally in these types of situations, we conclude that the worms came up through the drains, but our reader specifically mentions that she properly cleans the bathtub before every use, so this conclusion is unlikely. It is possible that the worms were inside the faucet, and so came out when she turned it on. The worms would still have come up through the piping in that case, but instead of coming up through the already-clean drains, they came up through the faucet.
Alternatively, perhaps a batch of eggs was laid on the wall or ceiling by the tub, and when our reader went to take a bath, the larvae fell/jumped into the tub. That would still be very odd behaviour for larvae of any kind, unless they were aquatic, which in this case we doubt. What we’ll say is that since our reader did not find any more of these larvae, this is probably a fluke. We recommend she move the larvae outside and call it a day, though, as we said, if she needs or wants a medical professional’s opinion, then we recommend she seek it.
In conclusion, we are not entirely sure what our reader found in her bathtub, and it is not clear if we are liberty to make conclusions on their identity, given the potential medical nature of the situation. We hope nonetheless that we were able to help, and we wish our reader the very best!
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