June 24th, 2018

A Migrating Facial Worm, and Time to Vote for Your Favorite Cartoon Caption

National Library of Medicine

Over on the New England Journal of Medicine, there’s a picture on the “Images in Clinical Medicine” series that’s getting quite a bit of attention.

And it’s no wonder. This 32-year-old woman in Russia went to her ophthalmologist with a series of selfies she took over a 2-week period. The pictures demonstrated nodules (bumps) that moved around her face — under and over her left eye, then to her lip.

It turned out to be the parasite Dirofilaria repens — of course, isn’t it always? — which is a zoonotic filarial nematode.

In plain English, it was a worm. A worm that usually infects dogs. So a dog worm was crawling around under the skin on her face. Which she got from a mosquito bite.

If you’re looking for yet another motivation to break out the DEET or picaridin this summer, look no further!

And behold, the power of the yucky ID case report. Big news indeed! Perhaps citations in Cosmopolitan and BuzzFeed will boost NEJM’s impact factor.

In other big news, our last Caption Contest drew a flurry of responses, both on the site and on Twitter. Not only that, the quality of the responses was exceptionally high, rating 9.32 (a record) on the validated Funniness Scale for an ID Blog.

Which makes me conclude that either the cartoon was exceptionally humorous (thank you, Anne!), or you are becoming pros at submitting captions — likely both. Well done!

As usual, our high-speed computer utilized the patented NEJM Journal Watch algorithm to select the top captions. Most groan-worthy puns (e.g., “I hear you’re having brelly-pain”, “That mole has really sprung” ) were automatically excluded based on Rule 17.42 — but I overturned this rule using executive action for a particularly good pun that made us giggle.

And note, we’ve added one just for ID and Microbiology Geeks — see if you can guess which one.

Now it’s your turn to pick the favorite. Have at it!

What is your favorite caption for this cartoon?

View Results

6 Responses to “A Migrating Facial Worm, and Time to Vote for Your Favorite Cartoon Caption”

  1. Heather says:

    OK, I give up. I assume that the Listeria menigitis caption is the one added for the ID geeks, so please could one of said geeks explain to me (an anesthesiologist) why it’s so funny that it’s winning the vote?

    It’s hard to tell from the angle of the drawing, but to me the patient does not appear to be listing, so I don’t think he could possibly have listeria.

    (Here in Sweden listeria is more likely to be found in mashed potato than umbrellas).

    • N Cortes says:

      In the microbiology lab, listeria’s motility causes it to form an umbrella shape when inoculated into an agar tube (growing over the top of the agar and out through the agar from the inoculation site). Google “listeria umbrella” to see some nice pictures.

  2. Phil Lederer says:

    Great post as always 🙂

  3. Julian O'Brien says:

    Your brain scan shows a phobia for hydranencephaly.

  4. Mark says:

    Can’t believe ”You have Listeria meningitis” won ! 😉

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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