PORTLAND, Ore (KXAN) — A Portland woman who found a tiny worm inside her eye discovered she was the first human infected with Thelazia gulosa, an eye worm found mostly in cattle in parts of North America, according to a report by the Portland Tribune.
Abby Beckley pulled the wiggly worm from her left eye in August of 2016. The 26-year-old was working as summer deckhand on a commercial fishing boat near Prince of Wales Island in Alaska at the time.
The Portland Tribune reports in the span of a few weeks, Beckley pulled 14 of the tiny worms from her left eye.
“It was shocking when it happened, and it’s just fascinating now,” she told the Portland Tribune on Friday, Feb. 9, from her home in Grants Pass, where she’s lived for the past couple of years. “It was also concerning.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, humans become incidental hosts of the Thelazia gulosa (the cattle eyeworm) when the insect intermediate host feeds on the humans’ tears. Beckley may have been infected when she worked on a cattle ranch in Oregon.