« This Day In History: May 7 | Main | This Day In History: May 8 »

Medicinal Maggots

You may have seen that delightful scene in Gladiator when one of the slave guys uses maggots to clean Russell Crowe’s character’s wound. It may seem the stuff of somebody's deranged imagination, but it's not. Maggots, or fly larva, have been used to clean wounds since ancient times. The way it works is that the little larva wriggle around in the wound, eating away the dead skin and bacteria that lead to infection. After a while, hopefully once treatment is over, the maggots turn into flies and, well, fly away. Gruesome stuff, but highly effective according to researchers at the University of Manchester in England who put maggots to the test. In their study, whose abstract can be found here, the doctors found that maggots are highly effective in stemming MRSA infections, which is a huge concern in hospitals. The patients who were tested suffered from ulcers on their toes due to complications from diabetes, but the researchers think that maggots can be used to treat almost any other open wound on the body where the risk of infection is high.

"Larval therapy: a novel treatment in eliminating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from diabetic foot ulcers (abstract)," February 2007, Diabetes Care.
"Maggots Rid Patients Of Antibiotic-resistant Infection, MRSA," May 5, 2007, Science Daily . WARNING: In this link, there's a particularly disgusting up-close photo showing maggot therapy on an open wound located a patient's toe.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.worldalmanac.com/wablogadmin/mt-tb.cgi/418

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 7, 2007 2:17 PM.

The previous post in this blog was This Day In History: May 7.

The next post in this blog is This Day In History: May 8.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.