A COUPLE sitting on a beautiful Caribbean beach got more than they bargained for – after leaving with a nasty infestation of WORMS.
The pair were left with burning, red and itchy backsides, after the hookworm larvae burrowed into their skin.
The unnamed husband and wife were on a cruise that stopped off on the island of Martinique.
It was shortly after their beach visit that the wife, 52, first noticed an "initial burning sensation" all over her bum.
The next day she woke up to find her behind was covered by an "eruption" of red pinprick marks.
Doctors on the cruise ship prescribed the patient antibiotics, as well as antifungal treatments and steroid creams.
But nothing appeared to be working.
Ten days after first noticing her symptoms, the rash had spread further.
And it was then the woman's husband revealed he was plagued by similar symptoms.
Medics led by Dr Douglas Maslin at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, wrote in a case report in the BMJ: "The patient's husband was noted to be itching and examination revealed a rash with equivalent distribution and morphology."
Doctors diagnosed the pair with cutaneous larva migrans, a parasitic skin infection caused by hookworm larvae.
They typically infest dogs, cats and other animals.
But humans can become infected after walking barefoot on beaches, or coming into contact with soil that's contaminated with animal poo.
The condition is known as a creeping infection, because once infected the larvae burrow under the skin's surface and cause itchy red lines or tracks.
Both patients were treated, and given a drug used to combat parasitic infections, including head lice and scabies.
Five days later the woman was rushed to A&E with a dry cough, shortness of breath and a chest infection, and later her husband suffered the same symptoms.
They were found to be suffering hypersensitivity pneumonitis, inflammation of the lungs, which doctors said could have been caused by the worms infiltrating their lungs.
After another dose of treatment they both began to feel better.
Dr Maslin's team explained: "The hookworm larvae are excreted in the faeces of the infected animal host (usually a dog or cat) on to sandy beaches or moist soil, where they can penetrate into the epidermis of human skin on contact."
They added that symptoms to watch out for are the burning red spots, at the site of entry.
This will then be followed by the itchy rash, which slowly creeps along a patch of skin over the next days or weeks.
They tend to infect the soles of a person's feet but can strike anywhere, Dr Maslin's team warned.
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