'Tis the season for reindeer watching as children listen for Santa and his sleigh bells, but beware!  A study from Sweden reports that reindeer may be carrying the larvae of a bumble-like fly called Hypoderma tarandi.  Its eggs laid in the hair of reindeer hatch into larvae that penetrate the skin like a needle. The larvae mature into flies that burst out of the skin and begin the cycle all over again---and can even lay their eggs in humans!

Researchers in Sweden reported on five children who developed skin swellings and eye injury after visiting a reindeer herd in northern Scandanavia and were diagnosed with myiasis---caused by an infestation of the H.tarandi larvae.  There is treatment but be sure your children enjoy reindeer at a safe distance this year and have a very Merry Christmas from the team at the Women's Health Research Institute!

Source reference:
Kan B, et al "Dermal swellings and ocular injury after exposure to reindeer" N Engl J Med 2012; 367: 2456-2457.







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