WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Warning – if you’re even the tiniest bit squeamish, please look away now. Click on another story, check your Twitter feed, stalk your ex of Facebook – just don’t scroll any further down. Because this is really fucking horrible.
Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner, 22 and 25 respectively, are a couple from Canada who decided to have a little week-long holiday in the Dominican Republic. Sadly, they got much more than they bargained for, in the form of hookworms.
They contracted the evil little parasites after strolling barefooted on the beaches in Punta Cana and are warning other holiday-goers about the dangers of doing so.
At first, they didn’t think anything of the fact their feet had started to itch and just thought they’d got fleas, but it soon became apparent that something was wrong.
When they returned home to Ontario on January 18th, Zytner noticed his feet were severely swollen and little bumps had developed on his toes.
Bring a little bit worried – as they should have been, considering those pictures, they went to seek medical attention, but it was only the third doctor that had any idea what was wrong with them, thanks to previous patient having contracted hookworms – or larva migrans – from a beach in Thailand.
The good news for the couple was that hookworms can be treated simply with a medication called ivermectin. The bad news was that the Canadian healthcare system didn’t want to cover the treatment.
“We found out that Health Canada had denied our request to receive the medication saying our case wasn’t severe enough,” Stephens told the Daily Mail. “At that point, that’s when we freaked out a little.”
Thankfully – and somewhat ironically – the answer lay just south of the border. Stephens’ mother volunteered to drive to Detroit, Michigan and pick up the necessary medication from the pharmacy.
In just three days, the medicine is already working wonders, though the pair are still having to use crutches. Still, their feet are getting better and should be back to normal soon. The couple are sharing their story to raise awareness of the situation for others.
“They [his feet] feel better,” Zytner told CTV News. “They looked a little bit better yesterday. We’re getting our bandages changed again… so we’ll have another chance to look at them and see how it’s progressing.”
The couple said they wanted to post their experience to Facebook to raise awareness in other travelers and possibly help doctors who encounter the condition in the future.
“We want to make it known to more doctors what it is, what to look for and stuff because it took us a few trips to the hospital to find out what it was,” said Zytner.
Thanks for the info, guys. We do appreciate it. The feeling sick after seeing those pictures? Not so much.