CARMEL VALLEY (KRON) – It sounds like a nightmare – pulling a nearly inch-long worm out of your eye, then finding even more?
That’s exactly what happened to a woman who contracted a rare parasitic infection while out on a run near the California coast.
The case of the unidentified 68-year-old woman was published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases last month.
According to the case study, the woman believes she had contracted an infection while on a trail run in Carmel Valley in March 2018.
The woman said she felt an irritation in her right eye, and when she flushed her eye out with water, a 1.3-centimeter-long roundworm came out of her eyes.
Upon closer inspection, she found another worm in her eye, which she was also able to remove by hand after rinsing her eye with tap water.
But the story doesn’t end there.
LiveScience reports that the next day the woman went to visit a doctor, who pulled out a third worm.
At this time the woman was given a topical medication to take with her back home to Nebraska.
The publication reports the woman found a fourth worm in her eye after going home.
The woman’s case was referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where researchers determined the woman was suffering from an infection called Thelazia gulosa, which usually affects cattle and is carried by different flies that ingest eye secretions.
The woman reported she had run into a swarm of flies during her run in Carmel Valley, LiveScience reported.
According to health officials, T. gulosa is extremely rare in humans. Parasites from the infection can cause serious eye damage and even blindness.
The study’s authors report this is only the second known human diagnosis of T. gulosa, which has been around in American cattle since the 1940s.
The last case was reported in Oregon in 2016, however authors surmise that T. gulosa may be on the rise in livestock, representing an emerging “zoonotic disease” in the U.S., which classifies diseases spread from animals to humans.