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Canadian Couple Contracts Hookworm Infection During Vacation.

A Canadian couple who contracted parasitic hookworms while vacationing at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic warned people to be cautious while planning a trip to warmer climates.

Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner who were vacationing at Punta Cana noticed their feet were oddly itchy after returning back home from their holiday.

During a telephone interview with CTV News on Friday, Stephens, 22, from Windsor, Ontario, said during the holiday, she and her boyfriend "found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit."

She also said that at first they thought it was sand flea bites, however, they later discovered that their legs were, in fact, infected with hookworms.

"Sand fleas we had heard about so we kind of assumed it was that at first," she told the ( news channel.

Hookworm infection is an infection that can cause itchy rashes, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. According to the ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hookworm infection affects 576 to 740 million people worldwide.

CDC, on its website, also states hookworm infections can cause blood loss leading to anemia. However, hookworm infection is treatable with proper care and medication.

In Stephens' case, she told the news channel that her boyfriend's feet swelled up a day after they returned from their holiday. The next day, it worsened and small bumps appeared on his toes. After consulting a doctor, Zytner was provided with first aid that day.

In the meantime, Stephens' leg too began to swell. "I had a lot of itchiness during the trip. I think I might have complained about it a little bit more that my feet were really itchy, but mine didn't start swelling and everything until about the Sunday night."

On the fourth day after returning from the holiday, Stephens and Zytner were detected with the condition. After a thorough examination, a doctor told them that their legs we2re infected with larva migrans, commonly known as hookworms. These hookworms enter the skin on coming in contact with an infected surface.

The couple were advised to take a drug called ivermectin, however, they had to import the medicine from outside as it was not licensed in Canada. With proper care and medication, Stephens and Zytner were able to walk around.

To spread awareness about the little-known infection, Stephens shared a Facebook post detailing how she and her boyfriend contracted it.

"Be careful when in the sand and wear shoes! My boyfriend and I recently got back from Punta Cana to discover that we both have larva migrans, in other terms worms in our feet. 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. The resort we stayed at was IFA villas bavaro resort and spa. Also, this injury has nothing to do with coverage or travel insurance, I was back in my home country when I was first treated and don't need travel coverage for what I have. Also, to top it off health Canada denied our request to receive the medicine (ivermectin) we needed to treat our infection and were forced to get medicine from the states," she wrote.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 30, 2018
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