Maggot wound treatment again allowed in Belgium


Treatment of wounds can now be done with maggots legally in Belgium – a particularly useful method for diabetics and the elderly

Not reimbursed

Maggot therapy, in which maggots are used to heal wounds that are difficult to clean, is once again allowed in Belgium.

In 2011, Belgium’s federal agency for medicine and health products stopped recognising maggot therapy because of problems with the standardisation of the method. But the therapy is now allowed as a non-recognised treatment, meaning costs will not be refunded.

The therapy must always be prescribed by a doctor, and the maggots have to be delivered to a pharmacy. A maggot treatment costs between €150 and €300 on average.

According to Flanders’ Wound Care Centre, Maggots are particularly useful in cleaning the wounds of diabetics, elderly people and others who have difficulty healing, as well as in patients for whom antibiotics no longer work. “The maggots can prevent amputation of limbs,” said Kristof Baillu of the Wound Care Centre “because they can remove dead tissue from wounds very quickly.”

For a treatment, about 50 maggots of the common green bottle fly are put in a sort of tea bag and placed on the wound. The insects eat the dead tissue and also spread an enzyme that has a dissolving effect.

It takes an average of four days before the dead tissue is gone. With antibiotics, this sometimes can take weeks.

The Wound Care Centre will evaluate the interest in the therapy and then consider whether it should submit a request to allow the treatment be registered as recognised so the costs can be refunded.

Photo: Ingimage