Faced with increasing resistance to antibiotics, the National Health Service (NHS), the UK public health system, is using a rather unusual treatment: maggot therapy. The number of treatments administered “has increased by almost 50%” in ten years, according to The telegraph.
In modern history, this technique was popularized during the First World War, “when a surgeon noticed that soldiers’ wounds healed faster when they were ‘colonized’ by maggots”, explains the British daily. The remedy was then gradually abandoned from the 1940s, with the advent of antibiotics.
Raise thousands of green flies
“However, with the development of antibiotic resistance, it is becoming more difficult to treat wounds, and doctors are therefore forced to return to this outdated approach” declare it Telegram. In 2004, the NHS therefore approved the use of maggot therapy, and BioMonde, a British company, has since “thousands of green flies every year, for sale to the NHS and across Europe”.
The technique consists of placing a “tea bag” stuffed with larvae on the patient’s wound for a maximum of four days. “So they suck all that pulp through the bag, and then we remove the bag filled with the wound humor”, explains Yamni Nigam, professor of health sciences at Swansea University, Wales.
However, despite the small size of the maggots – less than 1 millimeter – this therapy still deters many caregivers. “Of course, I think everyone has a natural aversion to crawling little creatures, and when it comes to maggots, they tend to inspire instinctive revulsion in most people.” concludes Yamni Nigam.