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A further 10 days later, it had moved again, this time puffing up the left side of her upper lip.

She told NPR that in 20 per cent of cases, the worms can "move considerable distances" such as from the upper eyelid to the buttocks.

The parasite is usually found in dogs and other carnivores and finds its way inside them through mosquito bite, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The doctors used local anaesthesia, gripped onto the bulge and pulled out the parasite using forceps.

While there are three types of Dirofilaria that can affect human beings -D. immitis, D. repens (this was the one in our Russian friend's face), and D. tenuis - humans are not considered to be the natural hosts of these roundworms. The 32-year-old first experienced the development on her face after she visited a rural area outside Moscow.

The parasite was surgically removed, and the patient fully recovered.

The case appeared this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, where it was reported that the 32-year-old patient saw an ophthalmologist after two weeks of the lump moving around her face.

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Generally, though, the worm causes "no serious harm to humans (but certainly to the dogs)", Kurtzhals said.

It's relatively harmless for humans.

. But humans may also become infected with it under certain circumstances. The worm can move around to various parts of the body including the eyes, lips, knees, and groin. In people, it usually causes lumps under the skin, like this woman in Russian Federation reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that D. repens are not found in the U.S., but the country does harbor relatives D. immitis, which cause heartworm disease in dogs, and D. tenuis, which affect raccoons.

Other than Europe, this parasite is also found in the Mediterranean region and sub-Saharan Africa. He said that since 1997, there have been more than 4,000 human cases reported in these countries, particularly in Russian Federation and Ukraine.

For now, Americans don't have to worry about this particular worm burrowing around under their skin.

Medical experts agree this parasite is just another reason to do what you can to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

To avoid mosquito bites wherever you are, the CDC recommends wearing insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and trousers when outdoors, and using screens or nets in the home.