When Shreya Darji, 12, goes to her school in western India, she has to cope with a bizarre quandary her classmates couldn’t possibly understand.
She has an ant colony thriving in her head, and up to 15 of the big insects crawl out of her ear every day, the Times of India reported.
So far, doctors have been unable to figure out where the ants are coming from, how they’re reproducing, or how to get rid of them. Her father, Sanjay, is terrified for his daughter and worried about how this unusual problem is affecting her studies, according to the Mirror.
“Other children in her school and community are teasing her and it’s already making her feel bad. I need this problem cured as quickly as possible before it affects her confidence in life.”
More than 1,000 ants have been pulled out of Shreya’s head since this strange odyssey began last August.
Last summer, the girl told her parents about an irritation in her ear. Sanjay, who runs a TV repair business, took a look and found something he didn’t expect: big ants inside his child’s ear.
He took her to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist nearby, who pulled 10 ants from Shreya’s head. Weeks later, the whole thing started again, and her parents took her to another ENT specialist. More ants emerged.
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Concerned, Shreya went to see the best ENT surgeon her parents could find. By this point, Sanjay was so worried about the ant colony inexplicably living in his daughter’s head he’d even tried witch doctors to solve the problem.
But not even modern medicine could find either an explanation or a solution.
The girl’s current (and very stunned) doctor is now Dr. Jawahar Talsania, who said that in 32 years practicing medicine, he has never seen an ant colony crawling out of anyone’s head.
“The girl’s case is very challenging for me, as I have never seen such a case, nor found it in medical history. The big ants must be biting her, but the girl did not event feel pain inside her ears. Besides, there was no damage.”
He’s conducted “all possible scans” including an MRI and CT scan, but everything has come out normal so far.
“We cannot find any abnormality in her ears. She doesn’t experience any kind of pain — despite the ants biting her — and no damage has been found to the eardrums,” he said. “The family live a normal life and they have a healthy environment so we can’t even blame their living conditions. We’ve not seen anything like this in our medical history.”
Nonetheless, he’s pulled hundreds of dead and living ants from her ears in the past year. He’s filled the canals with antiseptic drops to drown the colony, and he’s fished a laparoscopic camera into the canals to search for the queen, the Toronto Sun added.
And that’s where the case gets very strange.
An ant colony needs a queen in order to lay eggs. Talsania hasn’t found her in multiple searches, and he has yet to find an egg chamber either, begging the question: how are the ants reproducing? The doctor can only conclude, based on what he’s seen — or not seen — that the colony isn’t laying eggs in Shreya’s head.
For now, the little girl will be under video observation to solve the mystery. Her father said no one else in their family has had this strange medical condition and that he doesn’t believe ants could be crawling into her ear — only to be plucked back out again — every single day.
“I have done everything I can. I have taken her to the best doctors but they have failed to solve the problem. I just hope things get better. I’m worried about her future and how this will affect her studies. She is a brilliant child and she’s already missed a lot of school.”
[Image via BERNATSKAYA OXANA/Shutterstock]