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Couple Gets Flesh-Eating Parasites on Vacation & the Details Are Horrifying

by Jacqueline Burt on January 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

A tropical ... paradise?
Of all the maladies I hope never to be afflicted with, and there are many of those, any sickness with the term "flesh-eating" in its name is way, way at the tippy-top of my list. The very thought makes my skin crawl. (Ha! No, really.) Gaaah! After last summer's streak of flesh-eating bacteria cases, I'd already pretty much resolved to never ever swim in a lake ever again. But after hearing about the flesh-eating parasites a young Australian couple recently became infected with on a "dream trip" to the Amazon, I'm pretty much resolved to -- well, I've never been to the Amazon, and I sure as hell ain't making any plans now.

Seriously, what happened to Ally Vagg and Bryan Williams is so incredibly horrifying, I really have to warn anyone without a supremely strong stomach to stop reading now. After the jump, things get ugly. Fast.

Still here? Remember, you were warned ... at first, Vagg and Williams thought they just had a few mosquito bites. Which made sense, considering they were on vacation in Bolivia.

But then something terrifying began to happen ... they both started to feel something "squirming" under their skin, "occasionally poking its head out of some of the open wounds." OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.

Apparently this revolting occurrence is a symptom of human bot fly infection. See, Vagg and Williams probably did start out with mosquito bites. However, "the theory is the insects were carrying bot fly eggs. These dropped into the wounds caused by the mosquito bites before the larvae then hatched under the skin."

How many eggs, you ask? Oh, only about 50 ... PER WOUND. And then the eggs became fly larvae, which will feed on Vagg and Williams' flesh until maggots crawl out of their bodies and become beautiful butterflies gross, hairy bot flies. So far, the couple has pulled out about seven of the inch-long larvae.

"I lifted my shirt to see the head of it crawling at the top of my skin looking like a worm or fishing bait,'' said Williams.

"We all nearly puked. Repeatedly," said a friend who was trying to help remove the critters.

Vagg and Williams may need minor surgery to remove all of the hairy bot beasts or whatever they hell they are -- and until they get a clean bill of health from Bolivian doctors (hopefully in another month or so), Australia won't take them back! (Hey, would you?!)

What's the craziest health scare you've ever had while travelling?

Image via kate fisher/Flickr

Filed Under: general health, illness


  • psych...


    January 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Great. Now I'm gonna feel things crawling on me all day. You said flesh-eating. I was expecting flesh decay, not....ew. just no. 

  • handy
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 11, 2013 at 2:24 PM
    My craziest health scare anytime, anywhere can't even remotely compare to this...
  • marip...


    January 11, 2013 at 3:02 PM


  • mleil...


    January 11, 2013 at 6:57 PM
    I was in line at chic-fil-A.......
  • tuffy...


    January 11, 2013 at 8:21 PM
    I think my skin is coming off and I'm dying from reading that. I have never had an inkling of desire to visit the Amazon, yet I somehow have even less now. Wow.
  • k
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM
    Hubby is from Belize, he had them all the time, especially as a kid, even on his scalp. I lived there doing some digs, and one girl actually got it on her lady parts bc, well, wilderness, and when you gotta go, you gotta go. And it's not a theory, it's a fact that they're transmitted via mosquito and horse fly bites. Hubby's family kills them by pouring green rubbing alcohol in the wound and then digging them out. .Hope n one was eating lol.
  • .LoVe...


    January 12, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    OMG. I know there was a warning but I was not expecting to nearly throw up! This is one of those stories I wish I could un-read! 

  • Dalla...


    January 12, 2013 at 4:58 AM
    Between that woman's last name and now feeling like my skin is crawling I feel sick lol
  • Mike...
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Mike Lewinski

    January 12, 2013 at 9:21 PM
    Apply bacon compress. The botfly larva need to breathe and will burrow back out through the bacon. Remove bacon. Bye botfly! This is known, officially, as "bacon therapy". If there's any bright side to reading this story, I hope it's learning this medicinal use for bacon.
  • k
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 13, 2013 at 1:47 AM
    Raw or cooked bacon? I'll let my in laws know -sounds better than digging them out!
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