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Human ophthalmomyiasis caused by Oestrus ovis—first report from Croatia and review on cases from Mediterranean countries


Oestrus ovis is the most common cause of human ophthalmomyiasis. So far, majority of ophthalmomyiasis cases have been reported from Mediterranean countries, but not from Croatia. In current study, we present first two cases of human ophthalmomyiasis in Croatia, caused by O. ovis larvae. Reviewing a PubMed database, additional 259 cases of human ophthalmomyiasis in countries of Mediterranean basin have been reported. A total of 260 (99.62%) cases had external, while 1 (0.38%) had internal form of ocular myiasis. In all cases, O. ovis larvae were identified as the causative agent. O. ovis infestation is usually reported in shepherds and farmers although there is a high prevalence of infection in urban areas as well. Various climatic factors influence O. ovis larvipositional activity. Air temperature is the most important factor affecting O. ovis larviposition, while humidity, wind speed, and time of the day play only a moderate role. Most common symptoms of ophthalmomyiasis are irritation and redness, and in more than half of cases infestation is multiple. Ophthalmomyiasis interna is eye-compromising condition. Since there is reduced awareness among patients and medical professionals, the real number of ophthalmomyiasis cases is probably significantly higher than published. Global warming predisposes future increase of O. ovis prevalence in humans, which emphasizes the need for mandatory reporting and surveillance of disease.

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The authors would like to thank Mr. Robert Nezirović for assistance with interlibrary requests and database searches, and Mr. Boris Popović for help with graphic design.

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Correspondence to Jure Pupić-Bakrač.

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Pupić-Bakrač, A., Pupić-Bakrač, J., Škara Kolega, M. et al. Human ophthalmomyiasis caused by Oestrus ovis—first report from Croatia and review on cases from Mediterranean countries. Parasitol Res 119, 783–793 (2020).

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