A trip to the Dominican Republic took a wrong turn for an unfortunate Ontario couple. After spending a few romantic days walking barefoot on the beach, the couple returned home with a horde of hookworms who have taken refuge inside their feet.
Mammalian Species Vulnerable to Hookworm Infections
Cutaneous larva migrans is a medical condition triggered by larvae from the Ancylostomatidae (hookworm family). In mammalian species, these parasites can break the skin and infect the adjoining tissue causing painful, pruritic eruptions (itch). Secondary bacterial infection could be developed by the subject’s need to scratch the affected area.
A similar case was recently recorded in Canada after a couple returned from their Dominican Republic vacation. Katie Stevens and Eddie Zytner recall that throughout their stay at the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort, they had itchy feet, but decided to disregard this symptom, as the locals told them that their itchiness is caused by something called a sand flea.
On the 19th of January, the very next day they’ve returned from their weekend-long exotic trip, Stevens’ boyfriend’s feet begun to swell. The woman also added that the itchiness didn’t subside, and they had to scratch their way back to the States.
Come the weekend, Zytner discovered that small blisters appeared on his feet. The man was taken to the hospital, where he was consulted by two doctors who sent him at home with his feet bandaged, not knowing his condition. Stevens’ symptoms soon followed, and both of them were rushed to the hospital.
The third physician managed to make the right call and told the couple that they’d contracted a hookworm infection. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was only part of the problem, as the cure had to be delivered from Detroit since it is not licensed in Canada
Ivermectin, the wonder-cure for hookworm infection, was bought from the States by Zytner’s mother. After a couple of doses, the Canadian couple began showing signs of improvement, but they’re still not out of the woods.
Image source: Wikipedia