Passion fruit heel: what it is, contagion of the disease and video

What is the passion fruit heel?

The passion fruit heel, popular names for human cavity myiasis , occurs when a blowfly lays eggs on the skin, open wounds and other tissues, such as eyes and mouth, and the larvae start to feed on the host. The disease can affect animals.

The disease has its peculiar name because of its appearance when it affects people’s heel, one of the places where it manifests itself most often, especially in rural areas where people have the habit of walking barefoot. It’s not pretty.

At first, only a small hole is seen, where the larvae breathe – a fly can lay up to 120 eggs in a single wound. As they feed, the wound gets bigger, leaving their banquet on display so that everyone can see the larvae moving in there. The appearance, disturbingly similar to passion fruit seeds , gives the disease’s popular name.

When well fed, they leave the host’s body so they can move on to the next stage of their life, that of pupae.

What is pupa?

The pupa is for the fly like a chrysalis for the butterfly, only more disgusting. It is a cocoon where the larva stays while doing the metamorphosis that will transform it into an adult insect: the fly.


There are two main types of myiasis, and they differ, mainly, by the amount of larvae.

Primary myiasis

Primary myiasis, also called furunculoid or cutaneous, is less severe. It happens when a larva comes into contact with the skin and manages to make way for it to enter. This condition is what is called berne. In these cases, only one larva is found in the cavity, feeding on human flesh through the skin.

Secondary myiasis

It is the type of myiasis that is known as vermin . It is also called cavitary myiasis. The bicheira is characterized by several larvae feeding on the meat of the host inside a cavity created by their feeding.

It usually happens when the fly is able to lay its various eggs directly on an open wound, necrotic or not, but it is not limited to that. If a larva can get through the skin, it starts to create its cavity and feed inside.

Accidental myiasis or pseudomyiasis

A rare type of myiasis, pseudomyiasis occurs when fly eggs are eaten in the food and hatch in the intestine. It is rare because, most of the time, eggs are digested in the stomach of the person who eats them.

However, on the very few times that an egg can survive, the larva is born in the intestine, where it also hardly survives. However, if she can survive, she starts to eat there.

This type of myiasis can be caused by larvae of other types of insects, such as the flower fly and the guava bug.

Accidental myiasis requires surgery to remove the larva, as it can cause more serious infections and internal bleeding more easily than other types.

What places on the body can be affected?

The heel is far from being the only, or even the most common, part of the “passion fruit” body. Want to know where else the larvae can feed?

Think about where there is meat. Stomach? Yes. Calf? Of course. Behind the ear? Mom always said to wash well. They can also be inside the ear, nose, mouth, and not even the eyes escape, although rare.

Larvae have a preference for humid places, but it is much easier for them to establish themselves if the region of the body does not have adequate hygiene. Hardly anyone will ignore the larva in their face, mouth or eyes, but the heel – or behind the ear – can be overlooked.


The causes of the passion fruit heel are invariably the fly larvae, which lodge in the meat and feed on it. Flies can lay eggs on the skin or directly on wounds, which, if not cleaned, will be infected by the parasites.


The tailworm is not contagious, but it is possible for larvae to pass from one place to another on the body, creating new points of infection, and if a larva is removed from a host and placed on someone else’s wound, it will feed on the new one. victim.

Avoid direct contact with the larvae and, if it occurs, wash your hands thoroughly. Touching a larva will not cause you to develop the disease, but it is always a good idea to prevent any type of infection.

Risk factors

Anyone can catch a bug, and this is not necessarily a sign of poor hygiene.

The larvae are quick chewers. They can create deep tunnels in the flesh in a few hours.

Some risk factors are:

Recent wounds

Open wounds are an invitation to the fly, which does not need much time to lay its eggs. They hatch quickly, so it is not that difficult for an infection to happen in a brief moment of distraction.

Rural areas and walking barefoot

The habit of walking barefoot, common in rural areas, can also contribute to the larvae, since if they are on the ground, they can enter through human skin. In addition, there is the possibility of sores on the feet, which make everything easier for them.

Lack of mobility

In humans, the disease is more common when the person, for some reason, cannot get rid of the flies. If the person is bedridden, or has a motor or cognitive impairment that prevents them from chasing flies away, the risk is greater.

Advanced age

Elderly people who have impaired mobility are also more at risk. Degenerative diseases, common in older people, such as dementia, can make the person not even realize that the fly is laying eggs or that the larvae are there.

Myiasis in animals

The tailworm is much more common in animals. Dogs and cats, especially in the summer, are quite vulnerable to flies, as are cows and horses. When old or sick, or simply in a place that has several flies, they may not be able to keep the insects at bay.

Animals are also unable to communicate to their owners what they are feeling, so the constant analysis of their pet’s behavior, checking their skin and cleaning any wounds is important.


The bicheira can manifest as the passion fruit heel and prove to be quite unpleasant, but it takes days to reach this stage. The disease is noticeable early on, as soon as the larvae begin to feed.

The main symptoms are:

Swelling and inlet cavity

The spot where the larva enters is swollen. A small hole appears, through which she entered. It is also where the larva breathes, so it is possible to see it pop out from time to time, but it hides inside the cavity if there are disturbances.

Spot pain and discomfort

The host may feel small bites in the flesh while the larva nibbles and digs through it, when the tissue is alive, but this pain does not exist when the larva feeds on necrotic tissue.

Passion fruit heel video

It is worth a warning: if you have not arrived here through Google, it is good to know that the images in the video below are not pleasant. But if you were searching for “passion fruit heel” that you found us, it is probably a little late for the alert.

How is the diagnosis of the passion fruit heel made?

The larvae are clearly visible, even when only one is in the cavity. They can be seen moving through the hole. A dermatologist can diagnose myiasis with a clinical examination , divided into:

Patient history

The patient’s history occurs when the doctor asks about the symptoms, what the patient is feeling and his impressions about the situation.

Physical exam

The second part of the clinical examination is the physical examination. The doctor will examine the wound through which the larvae entered and will look for other points of infection that the patient may not have seen, as well as looking for signs that may indicate any other problem or illness that is affecting the person.

Is the passion fruit heel curable?

Fortunately, even in more advanced stages like the famous passion fruit heel – or any part of passion fruit – it is curable . Treatment, in most cases, is simple and effective.


Myiasis is treated by removing the larvae from the tissue with forceps. The doctor will remove them whole, as well as the necrotic tissue. The process is somewhat painful, and although it is not necessary, local anesthesia can be used. The wound is then washed.

Oral medicines can be used to kill the larvae, facilitating their removal, in addition to larvicides, deworming agents and antibiotics that can be prescribed. In more extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove all necrotic tissue and all larvae.

After removal, it is important to prevent another fly from laying more eggs on the newly treated wound.

Removal of larvae at home

In some milder cases of the disease, it is possible to remove the larvae at home. A technique used in the past involves placing a piece of bacon at the mouth of the hole and waiting for the smell to attract the larva. Thus, it can be removed easily.

The downside of this type of home treatment is that it is difficult to be sure that all the larvae have been removed, and that is why medical treatment is more appropriate .

Use of fly larvae for wound healing (larval therapy)

There are cases where the larvae can be used as a treatment . Necrosis is an example.

Because they have a preference for necrotic meat, larvae can be placed inside wounds to eat the dead tissue, preventing necrosis from spreading. There are medical records that infected wounds exposed to larvae heal more quickly. Treatment is often used in patients with diabetes , a disease that makes it difficult to heal cuts, including small ones, and facilitates necrosis.

The larvae used for this are born in the laboratory, so there is a guarantee that none of them is infected with any dangerous bacteria. Therefore, it is not the type of treatment that can be done at home.

Medicines for passion fruit heel

Some medications can be prescribed by a doctor to kill the larvae and facilitate their removal, both in humans and in animals. These are some of the remedies:

For humans

  • Ivermectina.

For veterinary use

  • Capstar;
  • Mectimax.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.


The ragweed, myiasis, berne or heel of passion fruit – as you prefer to call it – is perfectly curable and treatable, and the patient can expect favorable treatment results. The wound opened by the larvae can leave a scar if the cavity is extensive, but there are rarely other sequelae.


If left untreated, myiasis can have serious consequences. The larvae do not stop eating until they have eaten enough to reach the pupal stage, and they eat whatever lies ahead, stopping only on the bone.

Damage to tissue

Depending on the number of larvae and the location of the cavity, they can damage tendons, muscles and nerves. If the cavity is close to the eyes, they can lead to blindness , and nothing prevents them from reaching the brain and other organs if they find their way.

Infections and necrosis

The open wound that the larvae create, along with their waste, can cause severe infections, sepsis and necrosis. Myiasis is an easy-to-treat disease, but it can lead to death if ignored.


Prevention of myiasis is simple. Some tips are:

Fend off flies

Keeping flies away ensures that no larvae will emerge. Garbage, meat, rotten fruit and animal feces attract flies, so keeping the house clean helps to get rid of them.

Natural repellents like citronella or lemon with cloves can help keep flies away. Mosquito nets and repellents also help to prevent flies from approaching.

Clean wounds

The cleaning and observation of wounds, in addition to their protection, is essential in order to check for any anomalies in them, whether in humans or pets.

The passion fruit heel has a very ugly appearance, and if it reaches the most advanced stages, it can be very dangerous, but it is a disease that is easy to treat and prevent. Animals are affected more often than humans, but a veterinarian can resolve it.

Don’t forget to share this text with your friends, and let them know to take good care of any wounds they and their pets have!