Mango Worms

Mango worms whose scientific name is Cordylobiia anthropophaga are parasitic larvae of the mango fly which bears certain names which includes Putzi fly , skin maggot fly or Tumbu fly. The mango worms are native to some parts of Africa, including South Africa, East Africa and Uganda. 

Although they’re mostly found in Africa, mango worms can pretty much be found anywhere as they can be transferred through fruits and they can accidentally spread from one location to another. Note that the infestation can easily be transferred between people and animals.


Because, mango worms are parasitic, they’re often found under the skin of mammals which is their main host. They’re known to live in warm and humid region. The infect mammals such as goats, cats, foxes, dogs including humans.

Mango worms carry out a parasitic infestation in a person kown as ‘cutaneous myiasis’ because the live under the skin until they’re ready to hatch into maggots. Dogs are particularly at high risk of being infected with mango worms. 

The larva of the mango worms can easily spread across regions through the transportation of fabric wears. In this way, people who have visited these regions are likely to bring them back to their homes and thus the spread of the larva continues. They can infect more animals and people causing painful pus-filled lesions that eventually turn red and swell (boil). 


The adult female mango worms are the ones that need to complete their life cycle. They do this by infesting on a mammal host either an animal or human for them to completely mature and turn into adults. The female mango worms likes to lay their eggs on dirt and on places that smell of urine and faeces. This is where they begin their life cycle.

Mango worms are also likely to lay their eggs on any kind of fabric material which are prone to having the smell of urine and faeces such as seams of clothings, towels and beddings. Clothings that also smell of sweat or clothings that are been air-dried after washing and hung outside is also a prime place where the adult female mango worms can lay their eggs. Mango worms can survive without a host i.e a mammal for two weeks. 

Until then, the wait for an unsuspectating host to come in conntact with the surface which the adult female mango worm laid them on. Once the larvae makes the contact with a mammalian host which could be a dog, fox, rodent and even humans then the larva immediately burrow under the skin of the mammalian host.

During the period, they’re burrowing under the skin, a red, solid boil with a hole or tiny black dot on top will form and grow which means that these larvae is feeding off on the subcutaneous living tissue of the mammaliann host. This can last up to two or three weeks as they continue to grow. Each boil contains one maggot worm.

But has the larvae continue to mature into an adult maggot, the boil will start to be filled with pus and one may even feel it wringgling under the skin in combination wiith pains and severe itching. Once the mango worm becomes fully mature, they burst out of the skin of the mammalian host and fall off, as fully formed maggots which continue to grow into mango worms for over a three weeks period. 

Humans, can feel the infeststion of a mango worm, but that may not be the same for animals especially dogs. That is why its important to check for any reddened spot, bumps and pains.


mango worms
mango worms

How do I know an animal has mango worms ?, Animals like dogs and rodents are the most common mammalian host for mango worm infestation. These mammals don’t usually show signs until the worms are actually bigger. It is necessary to check animals furs regularly to note any changes that may be a suspected mango warm infestation. Their signs and symptoms includes: 

  • Reddened skin
  • Skin lumps or blister-like lesions on the skin
  • Bald spots
  • Intense scratching
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Behavioral changes


For humans, if precautions aren’t put in place, then the are likely to get infected. Infestation may turn severe and spread rapidly during intense rainfall, affecting greater numbers of people. Once mango fly larva penetrated the skin, it may take several days for symptoms to start. Just like animals, humans also experiences; discomfort or pain, blister-like lesions, reddened skin and mild to severe itching.

Among the signs and symptoms experienced by human are

(1) Sensations under the skin: You may feel or see the larvae wiggling in each boil.

(2) Fever: Some people start to run a fever days or weeks after infestation occurs.

(3) Tachycardia: Your heart may race at a higher rate.

(4) Insomnia: Trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating may occur as a response to pain and intense itching.


The process of removing mango worms from under the skin is quite possible to be handled alone, but the process may be uncomfortable and so the help of a doctor can be seeked. But in the case of animals, the vetinary doctor could assist in the process.

But there are also several other techniques that can be used to remove mango worms from under the skin. They include: 
✓ The Use of an Hydraulic Expulsion: The doctor and vet will inject each boil with lidocaine and epinephrine which will in turn force the larvae out. But if the larvae still doesn’t comes out, the doctor or vet will make use of either forceps or tweezers to squeeze the boil out. The entire larvae should be removed completely to avoid the risk of infection

✓ The Use of Suffocation and Pressure: Make use of oil to easily remove any scab that may be found on the boil. Doing this, the air supply of the larvae is cut off which is done by covering the black dot on top of the boil with petroleum jelly. The larvae will subsequently crawl out to seek air, then carefully remove them with forceps.

✓ Squeeze and eject: If the larvae do not crawl out, it may be necessary to increase the size of the hole. You can eject them by gently pushing each side of the boil together, squeezing them out. Forceps may also help eject them.

Note that a course of antibiotics can help to treat the infection faster. The wounds left behind need antibiotics to heal.


To be on a safer ground, when traveling out of your home, especially to places that have hot and humid temperatures, ensure you take the following precautions:

(1). Avoid air-drying clothing, bedsheets, or any other fabric outdoors

(2). Iron your clothes (The heat from the iron can kill mango fly eggs)

(3). Use insect repellant.

(4). Clean up your pet’s feces or urine immediately.

(5). Talk to your veterinarian and doctor concerning any suspicion of mango worms.


Mango Worms are particularly found in humid regions, so be sure to keep all clothings neat and away from air-drying. Having mango worms cannot be considered deadly has timely detection can help in the further spread of it to other parts in the body.

Do well to check out with your doctor or the vet for your pet, if you notice any possible sign of mango worm infestation. Keep in mind it’s possible to have multiple sites of infestation in areas of your body that you can’t see or treat on your own.

It’s also possible to have boils in multiple stages of infestation. That’s why it’s always good to check first with your doctor or vet for prompt removal to avoid infection. Treatment with antibiotics should be used to that site of mango worm infestation.

To avoid other complications such as tachycardia or fever, then cleanliness is key to avoiding mango infestation as it can be easily transferred from animals to person’s. Do well to keep both yourself and your pet clean at all times. Also make use of insect repellent for your pets to treat cases of mango worm infestation.

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