A FORMER Tamworth man is living a nightmare in South America as he recovers from a flesh-eating parasite.
Bryan Williams was born in Tamworth and left the city 11 years ago to live on the Gold Coast.
He recently spent the past few months travelling the Amazon Basin.
The 28-year-old finished up the once-in-a-lifetime trip in Bolivia late last year with his Sydney girlfriend, Ally Vagg, only to find pockets of feasting botfly larvae under their skin.
Mr Williams told national media outlets he had travelled to nearly 50 countries during the past five years.
"This by far is the worst experience," he said.
Mr Williams and Ms Vagg initially thought the marks that were appearing all over their bodies were infected mosquito bites, but soon learned they were botfly larvae.
They incubate under human flesh until maggots crawl out after five weeks.
The botfly deposits up to 50 eggs on the faces of carrier insects, such as mosquitoes, which inject soon-to-be-born larvae under human skin.
Mr Williams had to resort to his friends' help to remove the bugs, when the language barrier and an unhelpful doctor proved too difficult.
"I see the little invader rise up out of the hole for one second, look like he took a big breath and maybe even wink at me, and then divebomb back down the hole of the infection, not to be seen again," he said.
The former local spent days with tape over a stomach wound, in an attempt to deprive the larvae of oxygen.
When the tape was lifted, he seized the moment to pluck out the inch-long parasite, using a pair of tweezers.
"We all nearly puked. Repeatedly," Mr Williams said.
He and Ms Vagg hope to return to Australia in late February, after they fully heal in Bolivia.