Posted by: pat | 2008-10-31

myiasis/dead bodies?

I read your article on myiasis and noticed it did not seem to address cases of people swallowing these things. Can they exist within the body? If so, how would they be removed?

I ask this because I remember, as a child, being told that when a body dies it is eaten by various parasites AND that it would not matter if the body were hermetically sealed, because the parasites are within us.

If this is true, what sort of creatures inhabit us that don' t seem to trouble us while we live?

Also, I don' t think there is any way in which we can be certain that the meat and fish and produce we purchase can be free of EGGS of various parasites, like worms and flies. The eggs must be the size of a grain of sand.

I realize we have lived with these things forever, so I am not overly worried, but I never found out what sorts of things could inhabit our bodies and dine on us when dead.

Well, maybe this did influence me. I prefer cremation.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEnviroHealth expert

It's most unlikely that swallowing a maggot will cause any serious harm. They will almost certainly be destroyed by the gastric acid in your stomach. If people eat food containing maggots, it’s the bacteria in the rotting food that might make them sick, not the maggots.

When the body dies, some of the decomposition process takes place as a result of enzyme action and bacteria already in the body. But it would slow down the process considerably if the body were hermetically sealed, because an important part of the breakdown of the body results from other bacteria and insects (like flies, which lay maggot eggs) arriving from the outside.

We live in friendly harmony with millions of bacteria in our intestinal tract - in fact, we can't survive without them! Most of us have had an intestinal parasite at some point in our lives - these can be very harmful (and we all need to take anti-worm medication occasionally to stay free of them), but a couple of small ones, though undesirable, won't have a noticeable impact on your health. Most of us also have (usually unnoticeable) mites living on or in our skin and hair follicles. And those are just a few examples. But apart from some of the bacteria resident in the body, the larger parasites will either soon leave or die when their host body dies.

Meat and fish bought from reputable sources is unlikely to contain worm eggs. But even if it does, there is a way to destroy the eggs and render them completely harmless: make sure you cook the meat well! There is a risk of swallowing worm eggs in sushi, but it's low - sushi chefs are trained to choose healthy, worm-free fish.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: spinnekop | 2009-01-22

I travel alot, i ate maggots in Shenzhen in China. they taste nice.

Reply to spinnekop

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