A Malaysian woman recently returned from a beach vacation in Port Dickson with a nasty souvenir – a worm growing in her foot.
It turned out to be cutaneous larva migrans, which is an infection caused by hookworm larvae.
Nurul Ezzatul, 31, shared a series of pictures on Facebook on July 2 detailing her experience and warning others about hookworm. Her post has since been shared over 14,000 times.
Nurul wrote that she had recently gone to Port Dickson for a family vacation where she had walked barefoot along the beach.
One week after her vacation, she noticed some lines on the bottom of her left foot that she assumed was a nerve issue.
“I thought it was just a nerve problem and decided to get a foot rub. I did not even feel any pain at all during the massage,” Nurul said in her post.
The masseuse even reaffirmed that the red lines were a nerve issue.
The mystery intensified, however, when Nurul’s foot became incredibly itchy after the massage. She also felt a tingling sensation at night, as if something was moving in her foot.
Turning to Facebook for answers, she uploaded a picture of her foot and asked if any of her friends knew what the problem was.
Her friends commented that it was a worm and advised her to get it checked out.
Nurul went to a private hospital in Ara Damansara last Tuesday (July 2) where a doctor diagnosed her with cutaneous larva migrans.
The skin disease is caused when hookworm larvae burrow under the skin surface.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, the parasite is transmitted when people are exposed to moist sand contaminated with dog or cat faeces.
Dogs or cats with the hookworm parasite pass out eggs in their faeces. These eggs hatch and can infect humans by skin contact.
Those pesky hookworms can even penetrate intact skin, so avoid skin contact with moist sand and soil by keeping your shoes on and using a protective barrier like a towel if you have to sit on the ground.
Nurul said that the doctor was unable to remove the worm as he could not determine its exact location.
Instead, he prescribed some medication and advised her to visit a skin specialist to remove the worm.
She shared an update on July 7, saying, “Thankfully, I can no longer feel the worm moving when I sleep at night. All that remains now is the itchiness and the faded line in my foot.”
The moral of the story? Keep your shoes on at the beach, or you might get more than just sand between your toes.
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