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Canadian Couple Returned From Beach Vacation, Discovered Worms Had Gotten Into Their Feet

A young couple from Canada headed down to the Dominican Republic. During the bleak, cold winter, it seemed like a good time for some fun in the sun. The two ran around the sandy beaches in their bare feet, splashing around in the ocean and lying by the seaside.

After they got home, they noted that something was wrong with their feet. It turned out to be worms.

Eddie Zytner, a 25-year-old resident of Ontario, and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Katie Stephens are warning travelers to beware of going barefoot on the beach.

They had a nightmarish experience that they never thought was possible. It seems worm larvae entered their feet when they were on their beach vacation.

The couple came back home on January 18 and felt fine, except for itchy feet. They attributed it to bugs on the beach and thought the bites would eventually go away. Things continued to get worse, though.

The itches turned into painful blisters. Their feet began to swell. The pain got so bad they couldn't even put on socks or shoes. They needed to use crutches to walk. Finally, they could see red tracks on their feet.

The couple went to the hospital multiple times before they were finally diagnosed as having cutaneous larva migrans. These are hookworm larvae, which got under their skin while they were on the beach in the Dominican Republic.

Hookworms are parasites. Usually they're found in the intestines of animals, such as dogs, cats or wild animals.

Larvae can burrow through human skin as well, usually when they come into contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by the feces of infected animals.

"To anybody traveling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes!" Stephens wrote on Facebook, sharing some disturbing photos of the affliction.

"If your feet become incredibly itchy please get it checked out right away since we simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed," she said.

They were in for another ordeal when they Health Canada denied their request for medicine to treat the condition. Anti-parasitic meds can help treat the condition, but the drugs are not considered essential and are not available in Canada. The couple had to buy them from the U.S. with a prescription.

"Thank you, Canada, for your lovely health care you provide for us!" Stephens wrote. She later added that they got 'amazing health care' from their doctors, nurses and pharmacists. She was just frustrated over the prescription.

Hookworm infections will usually clear up on their own, but the medication can help speed up the process. Considering how painful the condition is, the sooner the better.

The couple says that now that they've gotten treatment, they're feeling better already.

"We've been off crutches for a couple of days now. We can finally put some pressure on our feet," he said Zytner. "The worms are pretty much faded away."

Zytner adds that since they had the horrible experience, they've learned a lesson about being more cautious on beach trips to the Caribbean.

"Call the resort they're staying at and see if they clean up all the beaches," he recommends to any vacationers.

He adds, "Wear shoes."

Source: CNN
Photo: WPLG Local 10, CNN, Windsor Star, Scotland Yard News

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