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Man with parasites under eyelid says doctors can't treat him, turns to Internet for advice

This article is more than 12 months old

Imagine a worm visibly crawling under your skin. Or worse yet, your eyelid. 

A man in China is reported to have been afflicted with such a disease, otherwise known as African Eye Worm or Loiasis, and has turned to social media for advice after being told by doctors they could not treat him.

The man, surnamed Liu from Henan province, posted his plea for help on video platform Douyin last Thursday (Feb 23). 

Filming a video of parasites wiggling under his left eyelid, Mr Liu wrote: “The parasite under my eyelid made me visit many hospitals... Has anyone heard of this condition or know of any expert doctors to recommend?” 

Mr Liu said he first experienced symptoms during Chinese New Year this year when he felt “his eyelids jumping”,  he told Chinese media. Later, his eyes began itching again and this time, he noticed a worm emerge for a second.

He visited several hospitals in Henan but to no avail. One doctor told Mr Liu he has never seen a parasite case under someone’s eyelids. 

Doctors advised against surgery on his eyelids, adding that the parasite would just move to another area once they started operating. 

Chinese netizens expressed horror and sympathy at Mr Liu’s predicament. Some speculated about the cause of the parasitic infection. 

“The main source of parasites are in pets. Is it possible that you were infected due to regular interaction with your pet?” asked one Douyin user.

Work trip to Africa

In a follow-up video, he said he might have gotten the parasitic infection from when he was working in Cameroon in West Africa. 

“I had a check-up after returning and had an abnormal reading in one category for my blood test, but did not think much of it,” he explained.

African eye worm is a parasitic worm from West and Central Africa, according to medical articles online. Affected patients typically contract the infection after repeatedly being bitten by deerflies. Once inside the body, the parasite reproduces and can migrate to different tissues.

Mr Liu said that following various recommendations, he is set to visit a specialist in Beijing. 

He was seen checking himself into a hospital in Beijing in a video post in Douyin on Tuesday (Feb 28).