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Breast Larvae Infestation

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Netlore Archive: Viral image and video purport to document the 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)

Example:
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.

Viral photo supposedly shows a larvae infestation of the human breast
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
Click to View Video


Analysis: This forwarded message has three distinct components:

  1. The text, which appears to have been fabricated.
  2. The still image, which also appears to have been fabricated.
  3. 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 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.

  HOAX QUIZ: Can YOU Spot the Fakes?
Real or fake?
Image #1: Specimen of a rare, bacon-flavored pig-nosed fish caught in Texas.
  Choose one:  Real  or  Fake?
The cautionary tale about "anthropologist Susan McKinley" and the breast larvae infestation she supposedly experienced (also described as "boob worms" and "nipple bugs") was attached to the image by person(s) unknown in August 2003.

The video — which demonstrates that larvae infestations of the breast, though extremely rare, do occur — was downloaded from the website of a medical journal in 2005 and attached to the already-circulating email, again by person(s) unknown. As originally published, it accompanied a scientific study entitled "Furuncular Myiasis of the Breast Caused by the Larvae of the Tumbu Fly (Cordylobia Anthropophaga)." The case, which was recorded in Nigeria, not South America, is described as follows:

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:

Ants in the Brain!
Doctors looking for the cause of severe headaches and facial itching in a young child discover that ants have crawled in his ear and infested his 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.

Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Viral images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.

Brain Maggots or Sushi Worms?
Disturbing images of what appears to be a worm infestation of a live human brain. Was it the result of eating raw fish?

The Necrophiliac's Gift
Read this cautionary tale and learn a very good reason never to sleep with a necrophiliac (as if you needed one).

Sources and further reading:

Furuncular Myiasis of the Breast Caused by the Larvae of the Tumbu Fly (Cordylobia Anthropophaga)
BioMed Central, 29 February 2004

Breast Rash
Urban Legends Reference Pages, 11 September 2003

Last updated: 06/01/14

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