Cutaneous myiasis

Author: Marie Hartley, Staff Writer, 2009.

What is cutaneous myiasis?

Myiasis is infestation by the larvae (maggots) of fly species within the arthropod order Diptera (two-winged adult flies). The larvae feed on the host's dead or living tissue, body substances, or ingested food. Cutaneous myiasis is myiasis affecting the skin.

Myiasis can be categorised clinically based on the area of the body infested, for example cutaneous, ophthalmic, auricular, and urogenital. Cutaneous presentations include furuncular, migratory, and wound myiasis, depending on the type of infesting larvae.

Furuncular myiasis

Dermatobia hominis


Cuterebra species

Wohlfahrtia vigil and Wohlfahrtia opaca

Migratory myiasis

Gasterophilus intestinalis

Hypoderma bovis and H. lineatum

Wound myiasis

Wound myiasis occurs when fly larvae infest open wounds in a living host. Mucous membranes (e.g. oral, nasal, and vaginal membranes) and body cavity openings (e.g. in or around the ears and eye socket) can also be affected. Severe cases may be accompanied by fever, chills, pain, bleeding from the infested site, and secondary infection. Blood tests may show raised neutrophils and eosinophils. Massive tissue destruction, the loss of eyes and ears, erosion of bones and nasal sinuses, and death can occur.

Factors that make humans susceptible to wound myiasis include poor social conditions, poor hygiene, advanced or very young age, psychiatric illness, alcoholism, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, poor dental hygiene, and physical disabilities that restrict ability to discourage flies.

Cochliomyia hominivorax

Chrysomya bezziana

Wohlfahrtia magnifica

How is cutaneous myiasis diagnosed?

What is the treatment for cutaneous myiasis?

Occlusion, manual removal of the larva, and larvicides may be used.


Manual removal of larvae

Furuncular myiasis

Migratory myiasis

Wound myiasis


How can myiasis be prevented?

Related information

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