If you find that you or someone you know has sustained a substantial wound that could become infected you will likely head straight for the first aid kit. One thing you certainly would not do is spread maggots over a bloody wound; that would just seem counterproductive. Despite how strange it may seem to use maggots to clean wounds, people have been using maggots for this purpose for hundreds of years. As a matter of fact, medical professionals from all corners of the world use maggots to clean wounds in hospitals everyday. Today this particular use of maggots is known as “maggot therapy”, and research shows that maggots may clean wounds more effectively than surgeons.


During World War One two soldiers were brought into a hospital after they had been left for dead on the battlefield several days prior. The doctor noticed that the soldier’s deep wounds contained maggots. Judging by the condition of the soldiers, the doctor did not think that they would live for long. However, after a short time the doctor noticed that the maggots had cleaned out the soldier’s wounds. The maggots not only removed bacteria from the wounds, but they also secreted a natural antibacterial substance that disinfected the tissue. This antibacterial substance also promotes the healing process. Aboriginal tribes from Australia, and many other native groups have been using maggots to clean wounds for centuries. Now that antibiotic medication is becoming less effective in treating rapidly evolving infections, maggots are once again becoming popular disinfectants in western medical settings.


A study conducted by French researchers demonstrated that maggots work better than surgeons when it comes to cleaning and healing wounds. One group of patients had their wounds treated with maggots; while another group had surgery done to remove infected tissue from deep wounds. After a week, the group that received the maggot therapy had far less dead tissue surrounding their wounds when compared to the group that received the surgery. Surprisingly, using maggots for wound cleaning was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2004.


If you were admitted to the hospital for a serious wound would you feel uneasy about receiving maggot therapy?


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