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Parassitologia. 1997 Dec;39(4):415-8.

Persistence of human myiasis by Oestrus ovis L. (Diptera: Oestridae) among shepherds of the Etnean area (Sicily) for over 150 years.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Sanit√† Pubblica Veterinaria e Patologia Animale, Universit√† di Bologna, Italy.


From a study carried out in 22 townships of the Etnean area, by interviewing 112 shepherds, it was confirmed that 90 of them (80.3%), once or more in their lives, had contracted myiasis by Oestrus ovis L., habitual agent of estriasis in sheep. The most frequent sites of involvement were the pharynx (77 times), often extending to the larynx, the conjunctiva (56), followed by the nose (32) and rarely the ear (1). Multiple simultaneous sites involvement was also frequent affecting 54.4% of the shepherds. The chief symptom was pain, sometimes accompanied by fever and malaise. The shepherds go rarely to see a doctor (only 7 out of 90), the greater part preferring traditional remedies. It is curious to note that myiasis associated with Oe. ovis was already observed more than 150 years ago by a Sicilian physician, G. A. Galvagni, who had pointed out the high incidence of the myiasis in shepherds in the area. The persistence of human myiasis in the Etnean area appears to be related to the fact that in this region the conditions of sheep farming and the lifestyle of shepherds have not changed so much since then.

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