Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: An Indian boy experienced a rare condition in which beetles bred in his body and emerged from his groin as full-grown flies.
Example: [The Calcutta Telegraph, 2003]
Origins: Urban legendry is rife with horror tales of insects entering, living in, breeding in, and emerging from the bodies of living human beings. Although nearly all such stories are apocryphal cautionary tales, in
The larvae of a type of fly invade a human or animal body, dead or alive. The deposited eggs then enter the body through pores, the mucous membrane or even the mouth. The hatched larvae then emerge out the host's skin and pupate.In Chandan's case, whole flies (later identified as a species of the
Most readers became aware of this story through articles from the Indo-Asian News Service and the Calcutta Telegraph which were redistributed through Yahoo!'s on-line news service. Usually odd news reports emanating from a place such as India are suspect and difficult to verify, but in this case the Calcutta Telegraph provided day-by-day news coverage with a wealth of detailed information for several days running. The last article, dated
Parents of Chandan Goswami, the boy suffering from myiasis, today got him discharged from the medical college hospital here and set off for Calcutta to admit him to the urology department of SSKM hospital.The outcome of this story is still murky, though. According to a New India Press account of
Faced with pressure from Chandan's family, who alleged that the doctors could not do anything even after keeping the 13-year-old under observation and treatment for
Since Chandan’s admission on June 7,
Tamal Ghosh, Chandan's uncle accompanying the family to Calcutta, said the hospital had handed over only the discharge certificate. They have not got the papers relating to the treatment he received and the tests done on him.
It seems Chandan left the hospital with bitter memories. "Last night one of the doctors told me my son had gone mad. He asked us to take him away and chastised me for wasting their time," said Alpana, Chandan's mother. Ghosh said the doctors were not taking proper care of the boy, who lay writhing in pain last night.
Chandan suffered an internal injury during the cystoscopy and has been passing blood with his urine. But doctors said such injuries were not uncommon during the procedure.
We haven't turned up any follow-up articles on Chandan's condition since then, although we have noted a mini-outbreak of news reports from India about patients purportedly suffering from similar afflictions. For example, the day after the last article on Chandan, the Calcutta Telegraph published another account of a boy suffering from a similar condition in which dung beetles were emerging from his rectum:
Live "dung" beetles today emerged out of a perforation in the lower part of the body of a two-and-half-year-old boy in a rare condition known to be occurring in tropical countries.On 25 July 2003, the New India Press published a column on a boy allegedly hospitalized (at the very same Burdwan facility where Chandan had initially been treated) because ants were crawling out of his eye:
Experts termed the disease a rare case of "scarabiasis or canthariasis", prevalent among children between two and five years.
Sources said the boy, a resident of Hakimpara, was being treated by paediatrician
Last week, the boy's parents had showed Mantry a black insect which, according to them, had come out while he was defecating. They told the doctor such insects had buzzed out earlier, only this time they caught it before it could take wings.
Mantry was reportedly taken aback when he was shown the beetle-like insect, which had bright yellow stripes on its black body. The doctor advised the boy's parents to have the specimen examined by Supada Mallick, a local pathologist.
A surprised Mallick referred the case to another pathologist,
"Medical parasitology terms this disease as scarabiasis or canthariasis, where beetles infest the digestive tract," Roy said.
After the baffling case of the boy who passed live flies while urinating, an eleven year old was on Thursday admitted to a government hospital for investigation why black ants were crawling out of his left eye since last week.Last updated: 31 October 2006
A resident of Tahala village of Birbhum district, Abu Bakkar, a farmer's son, was first taken to the district headquarters hospital at Suri with his bizarre complaint, from where he was referred to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital here.
The left eye of the boy was swollen and had a reddish appearance. Black ants were emerging at regular intervals, hospital sources said.
He would be kept under observation for two days, the sources said.
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