WARNING: ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
A man has encouraged people travelling the world to ‘cover up’ after had a severe reaction to an insect bite that left him needing treatment that involves putting maggots into an open wound to eat away at dead tissue.
Matthew Blurton was volunteering in The Gambia in December 2017 when he became unwell after what he thought was an insect bite started to blister.
On top of the blistering, he became feverish and was unable to stand up. Eventually, after his whole left leg began to swell, doctors diagnosed him with sepsis and cellulitis. The 46-year-old and his partner were told that he was lucky to be alive and he was flown back to England for some specialist treatment
The wound started out bad, then got a whole lot worse… Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Unfortunately, that treatment involved sticking 400 sterile maggots into the rotting wound on his foot so that they could eat away the dead flesh.
It’s a legit form of treatment, but it doesn’t sound like a whole heap of fun. In fact, the pain was so unbearable when nurses tried to remove the maggots with forceps afterwards that they were forced to leave several of the maggots to decompose in his foot.
Now, the designer from Doncaster, Yorkshire, has shared some gruesome images of his injuries in the hope that it will encourage people to cover up when on holiday to protect themselves against insect bites.
Credit: Kennedy News and Media
He said: “It wasn’t very nice to look at.
“I couldn’t look at the photos [of the maggots] to start with. It was strange knowing that that was my foot.
“Some of the nurses hadn’t seen this treatment before so they were all coming in to have a look at my foot because it was unusual.
“I could feel them – it was like a little itch. The maggots moving around was quite a nice feeling.
“After two days they had to rinse half of them off because they were going so fast. It was a lot of dead skin they were eating.
He continued: “They were saying with my dead skin it went almost down to my bone. I could feel my veins in my foot and them eating around them.
“Taking them out was quite painful because some of them were stuck under the ‘good’ skin. They had to get out the forceps which was painful.
“I’ve got an indent in my foot even now, but it’s healed over. They couldn’t get all of the maggots out of my foot so there are a few decomposing maggots in my foot.
“Most of them came off normally but a few had gotten stuck under the skin. They couldn’t get them out, so they were just left there.”
On the upside, the doctors managed to sort the problem out – although he has a high likelihood of cellulitis returning – and applied a skin graft to his foot to cover the hole. He’s survived to tell the tale and wants others to heed it.
The doctors managed to sort the problem out eventually. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Matthew added: “If I had had walking boots on or long trousers, my chances of being bitten would have been a lot lower.
“I think when we were walking in the bush and jungle areas a lot I wasn’t wearing the right footwear.
“I was wearing sandals, and there’s a lot of things in the sand that can bite that I didn’t know about, such as poisonous spiders. Keep your feet covered up.
“If I did go back I would have proper walking boots to keep my feet covered and I wouldn’t wear shorts either.
“I would advise people to have travel insurance as well – without it it would have cost a lot of money.”
If Matthew’s tale doesn’t encourage you to do that, nothing will.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media