In North Texas, mosquitoes are a problem, particularly over the summer. They suck blood and cause dermatological rashes, as they do everywhere. In this area of the country some also carry West Nile virus and Zika virus.
That said, Texans, like all Americans, can be glad they don’t carry one of the “bonuses” that mosquitoes sometimes transmit in Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. There, they sometimes carry Dilofilaria repens. It’s most common in Italy, Spain, Greece and Southeast Asia.
Those unfamiliar with this odd life form may be interested in some images from Twitter:
— ⚕ ᑕᕼᖇIS ⚕ (@kicka11) June 22, 2018
The story behind these images is interesting. According to the New England Journal of Medicine:
A 32-year-old woman presented to an ophthalmologist with a 2-week history of nodules that moved around her face. She had first noted a nodule below her left eye (Panel A). Five days later, it had moved to above her left eye (Panel B), and 10 days after that to the upper lip (Panel C). She documented these changes by taking photographs of her face (i.e., “selfies”). The nodules occasionally caused a localized itching and burning sensation, but otherwise she had no symptoms. She had recently traveled to a rural area outside Moscow and recalled being frequently bitten by mosquitoes. A physical examination showed a superficial moving oblong nodule at the left upper eyelid. A parasite was fixed with forceps and removed surgically (Panel D).
The good thing is that such worms, which normally live in canines, are rendered infertile when in a human body. As disturbing as it might be to have a worm travelling around under your skin, at least it’s not multiple worms.
The CDC reports that on one instance, the worm that was transmitted to a human being was already gravid. No, it couldn’t reproduce once it had gotten to a human host, but it already had a number of offspring ready to hatch. From the CDC:
Here, we report an unusual D. repens infection in a resident of Germany who returned from travel to India and Sri Lanka with a subcutaneous nodule containing a gravid female worm and concomitant meningoencephalitis.
Rare cases of organ manifestation have been reported, affecting the lung, male genitals, female breast, or the eye.