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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 20:37 GMT
NHS 'needs to use more maggots'
Maggots were commonly used in ancient medicine
The NHS should make more use of maggots to fight conditions such as MRSA, gangrene and body ulcers, an MP says.

Labour's Madeleine Moon called for more testing of the creatures' medical benefits in the Commons on Wednesday.

Maggots bred in sterile conditions can clean wounds by eating rotten flesh, which could be an alternative to using antibiotics, she told the BBC.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said using maggots had "some merit" and was "increasingly common".

Mrs Moon said people might find them "disgusting", but their use was "perfectly hygienic", she added.

Sealed in

Trials had shown maggots could help fight the super bug MRSA, Ms Moon said.

Hospitals already use larvae - enclosed in the body so they cannot become flies - in some procedures.

Ms Flint said the Department of Health were backing clinical studies of maggot therapy, and University of York researchers were assessing the possibility of using maggots to treat MRSA.

The worst anyone would feel is a slight itching sensation
Madeleine Moon MP

Mrs Moon led a half-hour adjournment debate - which allows backbencher MPs to raise issues and get a ministerial response.

She wants the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to test maggots' possible medical benefits in more detail.

Mrs Moon said: "The maggots only go for rotten flesh. They don't eat pristine flesh.

"That's what we are interested in."

She added: "When antibiotics were developed, it meant maggots were used less often. But people become resistant to them.

"Maggots will save the patient from having to have loads of antibiotics and they won't have side-effects.

"The worst anyone would feel is a slight itching sensation."

Mrs Moon said: "During the First World War, battlefield surgeons saw that people with gangrene who had maggots in their wounds were more likely to recover.

"I think they should be used more. Hopefully this debate will open a few eyes."

Maggots could save NHS millions
11 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire
GPs prescribe home maggot cure
20 Feb 04 |  South East Wales

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