A 42-year-old man had just returned from a vacation in Nigeria. He noticed a strange mark on his foot, which resembled a varicose vein.
He went to see doctors at Peking Union Medical College, in Beijing, who told him that it was just a varicose vein and to not worry about it.
But days later, the vein appeared to ‘migrate’, moving a few millimeters to a few centimeters daily.
After going back to the doctors a second time, he was horrified to find out he had worms living under his skin!
Cutanteous larva migrans – a parasitic skin infection caused by hookworm larvae – live in the intestines of pets such as dogs and cats and shed their eggs via their faeces.
The man came in contact with the faeces, while walking barefoot while on vacation in Nigeria. The parasite stays in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, because it lacks the enzymes needed to burrow down deeper into the body.
Signs of the parasite are a rash that commonly forms on the feet, back, buttocks, thighs, or abdomen.
The man was given an anti-parasitic drug called albendazole and after two weeks, the marks on his foot disappeared.
Cutaneous larva migrans is actually pretty common among travelers who visit tropical countries.