A married couple were diagnosed with parasitic worms after being left with red, burning rashes on their bottoms.
The unnamed couple were sitting on a sandy beach in Martinique, when they felt an “initial burning sensation” on their buttocks.
The next morning, they found a rash with red pinprick marks over their behinds, a BMJ report revealed.
After unsuccessful treatment with topical creams and antifungal agents, the couple were told they had cutaneous larva migrans – a type of parasitic worm.
“Cutaneous larva migrans is a dermatological condition caused by parasitic hookworm infection,” said the report.
“The hookworm larvae are excreted in the faeces of the infected animal host (usually dog or cat) onto sandy beaches or moist soil, where they can penetrate into the epidermis of human skin on contact.
“Initial symptoms typically include localised burning pruritus at the site of entry followed by the appearance of a slowly creeping, serpiginous rash over the next days to weeks.
“The palpable, twisting lesions are approximately 2mm wide and typically spread 10–50mm from the site of entry, which is usually the soles of the feet but may be any body site.”
The woman, 52, was rushed to hospital 15 days after the initial infection.
She had signs of a dry cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.
The worms had led to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, the report said.
The condition describes inflamed alveoli within the lungs.
Cutaneous larva migrans are relatively common in warm climate areas – exactly where people are more inclined to walk barefoot.
The worms can affect people of all ages, but tends to be seen in more children than adults.
Infection isn’t fatal – the worms tend to die within eight weeks. On rare occasions, they can survive for up to a year.
But, signs of infection can include an itchy rash, diarrhoea, stomach pain, fatigue and weight loss.