Warning: This story accommodates graphic pictures and descriptions of how hookworms burrowed into a teenage boy’s pores and skin.
Kelli Mulhollen Dumas mentioned she thought the small, pink bumps on her son’s pores and skin had been bites from chiggers or mosquitoes.
Her son, Michael, had simply returned from Florida, and she or he knew he had spent a lot of time outside. But inside days, she mentioned, the 17-year-old had a number of extra spots — then “his whole backside” was lined. Ultimately, Dumas mentioned, areas on her son’s ft, legs and buttocks had been lined in a pink, itchy rash — the telltale signal of sure kind of hookworm, a parasite that may infect each animals and people.
Dumas mentioned the physician confirmed that it was cutaneous larva migrans, a pores and skin condition attributable to larvae from animal hookworms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I can’t stress enough how traumatic it is for a teenage boy — and his mother — to know that there are worms living in his body,” Dumas mentioned Wednesday in an interview with The Washington Post.
Dumas, from Memphis, mentioned she thinks her son contracted the parasite in mid-June on a seaside in South Florida.
Hookworms are unfold by means of the feces of animals or people who’ve the parasite, and other people can get them by merely strolling barefoot on sand or soil that has been contaminated, according to the CDC.
Michael had been buried as much as his neck in sand.
The state and county health departments in Florida didn’t reply to requests for touch upon potential contamination.
Dumas mentioned the physician gave Michael an antibiotic and an anti-parasitic, however the treatment “wasn’t working fast enough,” so she made an emergency appointment with a dermatologist earlier this month.
Dumas mentioned the dermatologist used cryotherapy, a remedy wherein liquid nitrogen is often used to “freeze” lesions off the pores and skin. But throughout remedy, the teenager’s mom mentioned that her son urged the physician to cease, saying he felt as if he might “feel it running from the liquid nitrogen.”
“It’s disgusting,” she mentioned. “It’s beyond disgusting.”
There are two most important varieties of hookworm: human hookworms and animal, or zoonotic, hookworms. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory within the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, mentioned each sorts will be transmitted to folks, and it occurs in a comparable method — animals or people contaminated with the parasite defecate into sand or soil and, as a result of their feces carry the parasite’s eggs, the bottom then turns into contaminated. Once within the floor, Pritt mentioned, the eggs hatch into larvae, or immature hookworms, and when folks come into contact with them, they’ll penetrate the pores and skin.
The outcomes differ primarily based on the kind of hookworm.
Hookworm is an intestinal parasite, so when human hookworms penetrate a person’s pores and skin, they migrate into the bloodstream and take up residence within the intestine.
However, animal hookworms can not adapt to the human physique, so the larvae normally by no means make it into the person’s intestines, Pritt mentioned. Instead, Pritt mentioned, the larvae, that are microscopic, roam round within the person’s pores and skin — causing these pink, squiggly marks — attempting, however unable, to mature or to breed. Pritt mentioned that ultimately the larvae die.
That itchy and generally painful rash is known as cutaneous larva migrans — the identical one which Michael’s mom mentioned he was recognized with — and it is attributable to the animal type of hookworms.
Susan Montgomery, epidemiology staff lead of the Parasitic Diseases Branch of the CDC’s Center for Global Health, mentioned that animal hookworm infections in people are usually handled with medicines, reminiscent of an anti-parasitic. But even with out remedy, Montgomery mentioned, the parasite will die inside a number of weeks. She mentioned folks don’t normally report feeling larvae transfer within the pores and skin.
Dumas mentioned her son’s ordeal “has been a nightmare.”
The mom mentioned that her son has additionally developed a staph an infection from the hookworms. He is on medicines to deal with not solely the parasite but additionally the staph, a bacterial an infection that, when not promptly and correctly handled, can develop into life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Last week, Dumas posted a prayer request — and a warning to different mother and father — on Facebook:
Urgent prayer request!! Michael went to Miami June 20 for a mission journey. He was buried within the sand for enjoyable and it has develop into our nightmare. Four of our folks contracted a parasitic an infection, hookworms, from the Pompano Beach. Michael has the worst case, by far. He has taken Clindamyacin, Ivermectin, a steroid dose pack, and Albenza which price $1356 for 6 capsules (sure that’s with insurance coverage and sure I needed to pay it!). But you may get them for $0.30 per capsule in Honduras. Thank you, FDA. We have been to the pediatrician 4 occasions, to a dermatologist and have a comply with up appointment immediately. He is in ache and that is AWFUL. Never be buried in sand or enable your youngsters to be both! I’m solely exhibiting a few footage as a result of it’s so disturbing. Please, please pray for him to heal. Also be happy to SHARE THIS POST AND WARN OTHERS. The Health Department in Pompano Beach mentioned “Everyone knows to wear shoes on the beach because you can get parasites.” I assured them everybody does NOT KNOW THAT!!
Although some folks could not expertise signs with hookworms, the most typical signs are itchy pores and skin and rashes, according to the CDC. People with extra extreme infections can also expertise belly ache, diarrhea, a decreased urge for food and weight loss, amongst different signs.
To keep away from potential an infection, the CDC recommends “not to walk barefoot in areas where hookworm is common and where there may be human fecal contamination of the soil” or to ingest the soil. Montgomery, with the CDC, mentioned that individuals ought to put on sneakers on the seaside after which sit on a towel. She mentioned it is also vital for pet house owners to have their canines and cats recurrently dewormed.
Dumas instructed The Post on Wednesday she desires others to concentrate on hookworms as a result of “I don’t want anyone else to go through what my son has been through.”
“I’ll never walk on the beach again without shoes,” she mentioned.