Couple contracts hookworms during beach vacation

Alicia Farmer
January 30, 2018

Katie Stephens and boyfriend Eddie Zytner of Ontario noticed their feet were itchy while they were still staying at the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Stephens wrote on Facebook, but they thought the itchiness was caused by bug bites that would go away when they went home to Canada.

"To anybody travelling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes!" she said.

She also shared that having heard of sand fleas, the two of them had initially dismissed the itch off as they "kind of assumed it was that at first".

"We want to make it known to more doctors what it is and what to look for, because it took us a few trips to the hospital to find out what it was", Zytner told CTV News. Before long, there were small bumps on his toes.

He saw a couple of doctors who sent him home with bandages.

By Sunday, Stephens' feet also began to swell.

"I had a lot of itchiness during the trip", she said.

"I think I might have complained about it a little bit more that my feet were itchy, but mine didn't start swelling and everything until about the Sunday night". He had seen a similar case from a tourist who had recently returned home from a trip to Thailand.

The couple said they are sharing their story to raise awareness of the parasites for travelers and doctors.

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Stephens' mother had to drive over the Canadian-US border to Detroit in order to pick up the ivermectin they needed. It took three doctors to figure out that the couple had contracted hookworms in their feet, Fox News reported.

However, Canada's national public health department, Health Canada, denied the medication request as it is not licensed in Canada. "At that point, that's when we freaked out a little", she said.

After contracting parasitic hookworms during a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, a Canadian couple is sending a warning to those planning to jet to warmer climates, CTV News reported.

The couple told CTVNews that they are using crutches to get around, but are starting to notice some improvement.

However, their feet are getting better each day and they have chose to see a specialist to determine the type of treatment they need for the skin damage the parasite attack put them through.

They also plan to visit a specialist next week to come up with a treatment plan for the skin damage they have on their feet.

Stephens wrote a post warning people about the unpleasant experience on Facebook after they were incorrectly diagnosed by two different doctors.

She also shared that her objective behind posting their ordeal on Facebook was to warn people of the potential danger of travelling to tropical areas and Eddie said that he wanted doctors to become more aware of the condition.

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