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Cordylobia Anthropophaga: Furuncular Myiasis in a Family of 3

Mayabi L, Badawy M, Abdallah A

Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi

Correspondence to: Dr Lance Mayabi, P.O Box 30270-00100 Nairobi.



Cutaneous myiasis due to infestation by the larva of Cordylobia anthropophaga is an underreported occurrence. Awareness is important to avoid misrecognition or delay in diagnosis. We describe a family of three with cutaneous myiasis caused by the African Tumbu fly (Cordylobia anthropophaga) presenting as multiple abscesses, demonstrating the need for a detailed travel history in such a presentation. The nature of the lesions, the life cycle and treatment modalities are discussed. Cutaneous myiasis requires an awareness of its clinical features specifically in patients presenting with furuncular skin lesions who live within endemic areas or persons returning from such areas. Diagnosis is mainly clinical and lesions heal well after the extraction of the larvae. Good personal hygiene including ironing of clothes is crucial in controlling C. anthropophaga infestation.


Key Words: Myiasis, Furuncular, Cordylobia anthropophaga


Myiasis is the infestation of live vertebrate animals with the larvae (maggots) of Diptera (two winged) flies. In humans, infestation may affect the skin, wounds, intestines and body cavities (oral, nasal, aural, ocular, sinusal, vaginal and urethral). When open wounds are involved, myiasis is referred to as traumatic and when boil-like, the lesion is termed furuncular (1). Cordylobia anthropophaga (also referred to as “tumbu fly”, “mango fly”, “skin maggot fly” or “verde cayor”) is endemic in tropical Africa (2). Furuncular myiasis as a result of Cordylobia anthropophaga, though endemic in the East and West African sub region for over 135 years, is an underreported occurrence (3,4). It commonly affects children more than adults which could be due to their relatively thin skin and possibly because adults develop immunity after repeated exposures (5). Immunosuppression (steroid therapy, corticosteroid immunosuppres-siv