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Maggots Used To Treat UK Man Matthew Blurton's Rotting Foot Caused By Insect Bite In Africa

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A 46-year-old man was left with a rotten foot after he was bitten by an insect while doing volunteer work in Africa in 2017.

The infection became so severe he thought he would not survive to return to the UK, but thanks to a procedure that involved using 400 flesh-eating maggots, the man has recovered.

Bitten By An Unknown Insect

After he was bitten by an unknown insect, Matthew Blurton showed signs of infection, which began with a fever he and his partner initially thought was a symptom of sunstroke.

He was, however, rushed to the hospital when his conditioned worsened. Blurton's right foot became swollen. A blackened area also formed around the infection.

Doctors later diagnosed him with cellulitis and sepsis, which were likely caused by the bite of a flea or a small spider on his toe.

Despite his condition, Blurton managed to get back to the UK, where doctors decided to treat his wound using sterile maggots. The man's foot was rotting, and he had dead flesh all the way to his bones.

The maggot treatment, which lasted a few days, apparently worked because Blurton recovered. He does not have feeling on the skin on the affected foot, but he hopes to have the sensation back soon.

Maggot Therapy

Maggots are fly larvae that eat dead human tissues. Although maggot therapy is not commonly used, it is not something new.

It was used in World War I to help heal wounds. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved the medical use of maggots in 2004 albeit only a small number of patients with unhealing wounds get this treatment.

Maggot therapy involves using disinfected maggots that are applied to wounds either directly or in a biobag to keep the maggots in one place while they clean the dead tissues.

"Medical Maggots are applied directly to the wound surface in a dose of 5-8 per square cm, and the confinement dressings are affixed to the skin surrounding the wound. The dressings are left in place on the wound for a 'cycle' of 48 hours (24-72 hours)," the FDA said

Besides removing dead flesh, maggots control infection because their spit and saliva serve as a natural disinfectant that promotes healing.

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