27 year old Rochelle Harris from Derby was complaining of headaches, shooting pains down her face and could hear scratching in her head during her flight home returning from her trip to South America with her boyfriend.
After seeing her pillow soaked in fluid the next day, Rochelle visited A&E at Royal Derby Hospital but, doctors thought it was just a minor ear infection. It was only when the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist examined Miss Harris that the flesh-eating maggots were discovered. The maggots got into her ear after Rochelle walked through a swarm of flies and one had got inside her ear and laid eggs.
Doctors told Miss Harris what they could see and she ‘burst into tears instantly’ and was understandably ‘very scared’ that they could be in her brain. Emergency brain scans were done which revealed the ‘writhing mass’ of maggots and that fortunately they had done no damage to her blood vessels, ear drum or facial nerve. However, doctors discovered that the maggots had chewed a 12mm hole into her ear canal.
On Sunday, a Discovery Channel documentary called Bugs, Bites and Parasites will feature Rochelle’s frightening experience and follows specialists treating unusual illnesses.
Luckily, no long lasting damage has been done and Miss Harris says that amazingly she is no longer scared of bugs!
Frankly, the thought of maggots in my ear makes me squirm!
By Melanie Chisnall