What Are Skin Eating Parasites?

Skin eating parasitesThese infections must be candidates for one of the most distressing and embarrassing conditions that can befall humans.

Skin eating parasites can also be known as ‘flesh eating parasites.’

The worst of these parasites is contracted as a result of a bite by a sand fly, this parasite burrows into the skin where it lays its eggs and then remains to multiply and devastate the surrounding tissue. If untreated it can lead to loss of sight and eventually to an excruciating death.

There are various common forms of the parasite that infect the skin that can be picked up by contact with human sufferers, animals, plants or simply by proximity to an unclean environment or lack of personal hygiene.

Symptoms of Parasite Bites

These more prevalent skin parasites cause itching and discomfort that range from mild to acute and often accompanied by unsightly sores, some can even cause patches of permanent baldness.

Although the more severe skin eating parasites are infections that principally emanate from the tropics, where the sand fly is common, they have been found in more temperate climates, though fortunately only rarely.

At times we all give ourselves a good scratch because of some insect bite or minor itch, but if the itchy area spreads and particularly if outbreaks of small reddish bumps appear on the skin, then some form of treatment will be required.


In the less severe cases it is possible to get over the counter creams and lotions, such as calamine lotion, that will sooth and clear the problem.

At the same time, up your personal hygiene regime, change your underwear frequently, wash your bedclothes, check out your pets and their bedding and have your carpets, rugs, sofas etc., cleaned.

If the infection still persists then get medical advice, a dermatologist will have a more specialised knowledge of skin parasites than you can expect from a GP, but any qualified advice is better than none at all.

The extreme severity that some skin/flesh eating parasitic infections can cause, even in the fittest of people, is illustrated by the case of British television presenter Ben Fogle.

Ben is currently in the Antarctic with two colleagues preparing for a race to the South Pole. He is known for being exceptionally fit having rowed across the Atlantic and is a regular marathon runner. He contracted a tropical skin eating parasite while filming in the Peruvian jungle.

The parasite caused an inch wide hole to break out on his forearm which if untreated would have spread across his body and led to his death.

His treatment at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London was described as having side effects similar to chemotherapy.

He was on an intravenous drip containing a toxic metal compound and underwent daily heart and blood tests. He looked in a bad way, walked slowly and in pain and was coughing.

Fortunately the extreme treatment was successful, he has returned to fitness and can take part in the grueling race.

It is important not to ignore the warning signs, particularly if you are staying, or have recently returned from a trip to a tropical country.
Even in the countries around the Mediterranean there are some nasty little parasites that attack and burrow under the skin, in many cases as a result of an unnoticed insect bite.


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Category: Skin Problems

Comments (7)

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  1. brittany says:

    what would cause hole in the flesh to appear? Their are 4 holes and it has some green gew in them and the pain on a scale 1 to 10 one being no pain ten being the most its like a 20. What is it and how can i get read of it with out seeing a doctor??? please right me back

    • Editor says:

      You should really get a medical opinion.
      In the first place there are a number of infestations by worms or parasites that could be a cause of your problem or it might be some form of disease.

      Secondly without knowing where you live, your age, and other personal details we cannot possibly do more than hazard a guess at what is causing these distressing symptoms.

      Thirdly, and most importantly, we do not give medical advice as we are not qualified. You do not even tell us where the holes are.

      However there are some basic things you can do that may help whatever your problem turns out to be. Good hygiene is a must, be sure to wash your face or wherever these holes appear often and go very easy on the make up. Clean your hands frequently with an antiseptic soap or similar and wash your body at least once each and every day, preferably more often. Be sure to wear freshly washed clothes every day. Absolute cleanliness will be very important.

      Get medical advice without delay. One form of worm that attacks the face is the larvae of the Botfly, it can also attack other parts of the body and get into the intestinal tract, other worms are even more unpleasant so do not take any further risks and see a doctor urgently. Good Luck.

  2. Perry in nyc says:

    Hi name is perry I live in NYC I’m 40 and gave something going on but no dr has been able to help as of yet. I’ve tried permethrin, tossed me beds fumigated my apt and still I suffer. My family says their unaffected and appears to be true. I never had skin problems but now look like a freak. My cheeks, nose, forehead, mostly my arms even my legs have sores. Most of the time I can squeeze one and “stuff” comes out. What appears to be various stages of development. From a sesame shaped thing to a worm like thing and various stages in between.

    I would feel like a mosquito bite and look to see a small blood spot. At first I thought was coming from outside now I think maybe coming from inside out? Mr right arm feels almost numb as if loosing sensation in my hand and firearm. Weight loss trouble sleeping and the horrible facial marks and soon to be scars drive me insane. I’m starting to think no one can help me. I’ve been collecting samples but my drs seem scared to even look most thing I’m insane. I pick my face and arms but not my legs but the same marks are there so I can’t be nuts. My stool looks as if there are holes throughout it. As if a worms been making it’s home there. I need to find help on NYC that won’t be a dr who wants $2500 to look at me. What do I do… My luck it will end up killing me so please help me. If I had a good camera I’d take photos but I don’t I honestly need someone to help me find a specialist who can help. Thank you.

    • jaks says:

      Hi Perry,

      Sorry to be so long in answering your distressing query but we have been researching your problem. There seem to be a number of worm like parasites that could be causing your condition and without seeing them, and of course, not being medics, we can only give very general advice that may or may not be effective in relieving your symptoms.

      It is possible that the worms infecting your face are the same genus as anal worms, also known as pin or thread worms. You could try rubbing the affected areas of your face with a cloth soaked in strong alcohol or rubbing with sea salt.

      You will know if this is working as the worms will come to the surface of your skin and can be wiped away. you will have to do this frequently as the worms will have laid eggs that may not be affected until they hatch. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when carrying out this procedure as pin worms are easily passed on by contact so do not share towels. pillows etc.

      If this does not work then we seriously recommend that you seek advice from a skin specialist asap.

      Please let us know the outcome. We wish you well.

  3. keye greye says:

    My comment is for the guy in NYC, tell him to try walnut tea 🍵 n the bulk. Drink tonics that rid parasites from the body. I have other remedies will let u know what

  4. whitney says:

    DEAR keye greye, Please help! any other remedies you might have would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been to so many specialist just to be given antibiotics and told it is all in my mind. after battling this for over 2 years I am getting holes in my face, arms and chest the worst. also everywhere else. I have a spot on my chest the size of a quarter and can see the parasites moving in and out. also I have started seeing them on my face. the pain is unimaginable not to mention what its doing to my mental stress and self esteem. please, please help me, I’m desperate. thank you so much.

    • Jaks Lloyd says:

      Dear Whitney

      I would not presume to contradict the professional medical advice that antibiotics will cure or alleviate your suffering, particularly as I cannot examine your skin condition. Many skin infections are particular to regions of the world. You may have become infected where you live or countries you have visited in the past. For example some parasite infections do not become evident for up to a year after the initial cause.

      In general these infections become obvious when eggs laid beneath the skin by an insect hatch and burrow their way out to the surface, in many cases causing the sufferer to scratch or rub the affected area often inducing bleeding and extreme soreness leading to sepsis. It is possible that you are still being infected on a regular basis due to the area where you live being host to the parasite causing your problem. Be aware also that some skin infections can be caused by proximity or contact with another infected human.

      I can only suggest that you find a well qualified dermatologist to advise you. In the meantime a surface application of a scabiscide or similar, obtainable over the counter, may give some relief. I wish you well.

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