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unknown wormlike parasite

Steve J. Upton coccidia at ksu.edu
Wed Aug 27 08:35:18 EST 1997

Jack J. O'Brien wrote:
> Dear Ginhu:
> I agree with Steve Upton and believe that the "worms" that you have seen
> in your bathtub are probably larvae of flies of the family Phoridae or
> humpbacked flies.  The larvae of some species of this family are commonly
> found in the drains of sinks, toilets and bathtubs in houses.  The larvae
> feed upon mold and fungus growing in the pipes are are quite harmless to
> humans.  Adult flies can be recognized by their characteristic humpbacked
> shape causes a swollen thorax, the area where the fly's wings attach to
> the body proper, and gray, rounded wings with few veins.

-----cut, snip ------

People bring these in to me once or twice a year, usually from their
taps, drains, etc.  

Although larvae usually cause no problems, I did have have one situation
where the larvae did affect someone.  About 12 years ago a student of
mine developed chronic eye inflammations.  She wore contacts, and I
suggested she pay better attention to cleaning her lenses.  The problems
persisted.  After quizzing her, I learned that she washed her lenses
each day in distilled water that she periodically took home from the
University.  She kept the bottle of water under her sink at home -
'uncovered' (the lid had broken).  I had her bring the open "jug" in,
and it had hundreds of decaying larvae in the bottom.  I didn't pay any
attention whether they were dipteran larvae or moth larvae.  After
disposing of this container and its contents, her eye inflammations
cleared right up.

Steve Upton

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