Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Infestation by D. hominis maggots, a form of myiasis, is a common condition in both humans and domesticated animals. It has been said that they surpass all other cuterebrines in terms of economic and public health importance. Dermatobia hominis larvae parasitize diverse regions on the human body, from the ankle to the brain of infants (through fontanelles, or gaps between incompletely formed bones of an infant's cranium) often causing tissue damage and bouts of severe pain from the boring activity of the larvae. In rare cases, fatalities have resulted, particularly from cerebral myiasis. Furthermore, lesions, or warbles, caused by the infestation may lead to secondary infections, which, if not treated with antibiotics, may result in fatality or other health complications. Treatment is by removal of larvae. Care must be excercised in doing so, since the larvae anchor themselves into the flesh using the spines on their tegument. Rupturing of larvae as the result of improper removal may lead to severe infection.
Although D. hominis infestation occurs among a broad range of domesticated animals, from dogs to sheep, their negative effects on the cattle industry is most severe in areas of the Neotropics. As a single animal may concurrently be infested by upwards of thousands of maggots, it is not suprising that losses have resulted from cattle mortality, from the rendering of the animal as unfit for slaughter, and from the destruction of the animal's hide. Negative impacts had been strong enough to cause a cessation in herding operations in Panama.
Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, causes disease in humans ); causes or carries domestic animal disease
- McMullin, P., L. Cramer, G. Benz, P. Jeromel, S. Gross. 1989. Control of Dermatobia hominis infestation in cattle using an ivermectin slow-release bolus. Veterinary Record, 124: 465.