28-year-old Abby Beckley from Grants Pass, Oregon felt something strange in her eye, so she decided to investigate and was horrified to discover a tiny wiggling worm.
She pulled out the worm, and then had to do the same thing 14 times over the course of 3 weeks in 2016. There were more worms! She told CNN:
“I looked at it, and it was moving. And then it died within about five seconds.”
Her case was published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Richard Bradbury, team lead for the CDC’s Parasite Diagnostics and Biology Laboratory, says Beckley's case is historic:
“This is only the 11th time a person has been infected by eye worms in North America. But what was really exciting it that it is a new species that has never infected people before. It’s a cattle worm that somehow jumped into a human.”
Beckley got the worms working on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska. She recalled what happened:
"My left eye just got really irritated and red, and my eyelid was droopy. I was getting migraines too, and I was like, ‘What is going on?’
I pulled down the bottom of my eye and noticed that my skin looked weird there. So I put my fingers in with a sort of a plucking motion, and a worm came out!
I was just in shock. I ran into my crewmate Allison’s room, and I said, ‘I need you to see this! I just pulled a worm out of my eye!’”