By David Emery
Netlore Archive: Viral image and video purport to document the medical case of a female anthropologist named Susan McKinley who failed to seek treatment for a rash and wound up with an infestation of larvae in her breast.
Description: Viral image / Email hoax
Circulating since: 2003 (image) / 2005 (video)
Status: Mixed / Fake photo (see details below)
Email contributed by Belinda P., April 20, 2006:
(WARNING: GRAPHIC MEDICAL IMAGES BELOW)
Fwd: Wash before Wearing!
It is horrible. Guys tell your wife, sisters, girlfriends, and girl cousins wash bra before wearing.
ALL PLEASE WASH ALL BRAS, UNDERWEAR WHEN YOU BUY BEFORE WEARING THEM. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT PARASITE IS IN OUR CLOTHES WHEN WE BUY THEM. FORWARD TO EVERYBODY YOU KNOW. LET ME FORE WARN YOU THIS IS SO SQUIMISH, I FEEL LIKE SOMETHING IS CRAWLING ALL OVER ME EVEN AS I SEND THIS TO YOU. BE AWARE. IT IS SO GROTESQUE. PLEASE WASH YOUR UNDERWEAR BEFORE WEARING. PREFERABLY IN BOILING HOT WATER.
This is not for the weak; I have never seen anything like this. Read the article first before looking at the picture and film. This looks horrible. Oh my God!!!!!!! Ladies this could happen to you and Guys this could happen to your wife, girlfriend, partner so please BEWARE,and also warn others.
Click to Enlarge Image
It has been reported that this is happening in Zimbabwe as well, please make sure you iron your undergarments before you wear them and make sure that your clothes are ironed when they are dry and not damp. The picture is horrible but I felt that I should share with you. After anthropologist Susan McKinley came back home from an expedition in South America, she noticed a very strange rash on her left breast. Nobody knew what it was and she quickly dismissed it believing that the holes would leave in time. Upon her return she decided to see a doctor after she started developing intense pains. The doctor, not knowing the exact severity of the disease, gave her antibiotics and special creams. As time lapsed the pain did not subside and her left breast became more inflamed and started to bleed.
She decided to bandage her sores however as Susan's pain grew more intense she decided to seek help from a more certified doctor. Dr. Lynch could not diagnose the infection and told Susan to seek the aid of one of his colleagues who specialized in dermatology whom was sadly on vacation. She waited for two weeks and finally was able to react the dermatologist.
Sadly,a life changing event was about to unfold during her appointment.
To Miss McKinley's surprise, after she removed the bandages, they found larva growing and squirming within the pores and sores of her breast. Sometimes these wicked creatures would all together simultaneously move around into different crevices.
What she didn't know was that the holes were in fact, deeper than she had originally thought for these larvae were feeding off the fat, tissue, and even milk canals of her bosom.
Click to View Video
Analysis: This forwarded message has three distinct components:
- The text, which appears to have been fabricated.
- The still image, which also appears to have been fabricated.
- The video, which is authentic, though completely unrelated to the text and image.
The fabricated image first turned up on the Internet, uncaptioned, in June 2003. As David Mikkelson of Snopes.com observes, it appears to have been created by combining elements of two separate images, one of a female breast and the other of a lotus seed pod.
The cautionary tale about "anthropologist Susan McKinley" and the larvae infestation she supposedly experienced was combined with the image by person(s) unknown in August 2003.
We report a 70-year-old woman who presented with a week history of itchy multiple discharging sinuses of the right breast. The sinuses contained wriggling larvae of C. anthropophaga. Fourteen larvae were extracted from the breast and the sinuses healed quite well after the extraction.
Please note that while the particulars of the "Susan McKinley" email remain unsubstantiated and the story is almost certainly a fabrication, its anonymous author does appear to know a thing or two about the causes of furuncular myiasis of the breast. The email warns: "Please make sure you iron your undergarments before you wear them and make sure that your clothes are ironed when they are dry and not damp." Compare that to the journal article's explanation of how the 70-year-old patient in Nigeria was exposed to infestation: "She usually spreads her washed dresses on a line near the bush and does not iron them before wearing them."
More horrible infestations:
Brain Maggots / Sushi Worms
Disturbing images of what appears to be a worm infestation of a live human brain
Doctors Find Live Worm in Patient's Eye
When they operated, what was thought to be a growth or cyst actually turned out to be a live worm; what was thought to be mere dust in the patient's eye was actually an insect's egg
The Necrophiliac's Gift
Of maggots and metaphors: a stomach-wrenching example of how folktales express our deep-seated fears
Indian Boy Urinates Live Beetles
The unbelievable-but-apparently-true saga of 13-year-old Chandan Goswami of India, the boy who urinated live, winged beetles
The Dread Candiru
"Another variation on the maggots in the brain story was one I heard about people inhaling items through their nose, such as string, and bringing it through their mouths to 'brain floss'..."
Sources and further reading:
Furuncular Myiasis of the Breast Caused by the Larvae of the Tumbu Fly (Cordylobia Anthropophaga)
BioMed Central, 29 February 2004
Urban Legends Reference Pages, 11 September 2003
Last updated: 02/20/12