A 42-year-old unnamed man went to his local doctor complaining of a raised, red line developing on his foot. At first, doctors stated that he had developed a varicose vein, and it is easy to see why.
Varicose veins develop when valves that control the direction of blood flow in the vein become weak. This causes blood to pool and veins to swell. Swollen veins are easier to see and will protrude from the skin slightly just as in the photo. However, they tend to stay in the same place, and rarely ever move.
This man’s varicose vein, however, was moving. It showed growth every day and would sometimes move 2 centimeters. Doctors took another look and found out he had a type of hookworm living in his skin. The worm is called cutaneous larva migrans, and invades the human body when people come into contact with animal fecal matter. The man had taken a barefoot walk on the beach in Nigeria and likely picked up the worm at that time.
Foot after worm removal. Image Credit
Luckily, the worm was removed successfully, and the man did not show any additional signs of infestation. Doctors stated that this specific hookworm was unable to break completely through the skin, which made treatment much easier.
We have talked about worm infestations before. They can enter the body through the food we eat and the things we touch. Although it may seem like a third-world problem, infection is more common than one may think.
According to the CDC, millions of Americans have parasitic infections that often go ignored or misdiagnosed. Stool samples or blood tests are needed to determine if a parasite is present, and if so, the type of parasite present in the body.
The most common parasitic infections in the U.S. are:
- Chagas Disease – Trypanosoma Cruzi Parasite
- Cysticercosis – Taenia Solium Tapeworm
- Toxocara – Common Roundworms
Although most parasites are unwelcome, research suggests some parasites might actually be good for us.
Take a look at the video below to learn more!
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