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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Furuncular myiasis of the breast caused by the larvae of the Tumbu fly (Cordylobia anthropophaga)

Charles Adeyinka Adisa* and Augustus Mbanaso

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria

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BMC Surgery 2004, 4:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-4-5

Published: 29 February 2004

Abstract

Background

Cutaneous myiasis of the breast due to infestation by the larva of Cordylobia anthropophaga is rare. To the best of our knowledge, only one case has been reported in the English literature. This rarity calls for an awareness of its possibility as a cause of furuncular breast lesions, especially in areas where the C. anthropophaga (Tumbu fly) is endemic or in patients returning from such areas. As it can be easily confused with other furuncular breast lesions (like tuberculosis, mycosis, actinomycosis, furunculosis, chronic breast abscess and fungating malignancies), this awareness is important to avoid misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis.

We present a case of furuncular breast myiasis due to the larvae of C. anthropophaga earlier misdiagnosed as mastitis in a patient living in tropical Africa (Nigeria) where the Tumbu fly is endemic.

Case presentation

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.

Conclusions

Cutaneous myiasis of the breast is rare, hence, an awareness of its clinical features is necessary when a patient presents with furuncular skin lesions especially in endemic areas or people returning from such areas. Diagnosis is mainly clinical and lesions heal well after the extraction of the larvae.

Preventive measures such as ironing after drying of dresses and a good personal hygiene are crucial in controlling C. anthropophaga infestation.