Healing maggots praised

Click to follow
Medicinal maggots are moving out of the hospital and into the wider community, where their use in medicine is set to grow. Already nurses are taking small pots full of the wriggling larvae on home visits to patients ready to insert them into wounds which are slow to heal, Dr Martin Hall of the Natural History Museum told the meeting.

The larvae of the common greenbottle fly, Lucilia sericata, have a bacterium in their guts which secretes chemicals that kill other bacteria that infect wounds. Doctors have known for decades that they can eat dead tissue in wounds and suppress infection, and their use is gradually increasing. But Dr Hall, a veterinary entomologist, believes that they are underexploited, especially in the Third World where they could help to make up for the lack of antibiotics and surgical facilities.