What Are the Treatment Options for a Human Botfly Infestation?

The most common method for dealing with a botfly infection in human beings is surgical removal, though an infection is ultimately self-limiting and may require no treatment, according to PubMed Central. In addition, application of wax, lard or other agents to the site of infection may cause the botfly larva within to suffocate, while applying raw meat may induce the larvae to migrate from the infection site into the meat.

The botfly's method of reproduction is unusual as compared to most other insects, notes PubMed Central. The female botfly infects a mosquito with its eggs, which are then transferred to a secondary host to mature when the mosquito bites an animal or person. The larvae then matures underneath the skin for several weeks, after which it pushes itself free and falls to the ground to pupate and develop into an adult botfly. Since the larvae eventually leaves the host of its own accord, the vast majority of botfly infections are likely to eventually resolve without treatment, but the pain associated with the infection site leads most patients to seek treatment before the infection runs its course.

One factor complicating treatment of botfly infection is that infection sites often resemble other skin diseases, reports PubMed Central. The resemblance of botfly infections to cysts, cellulitis and other skin conditions leads many doctors to initially treat botfly infections ineffectively with methods used for these more common skin conditions. Failure to recognize a botfly infection correctly is especially common in areas where the botfly is not endemic.