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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Matt Atherton

'I thought I just had a rash - but a parasite was living inside my leg and laying eggs'

A woman was left absolutely horrified to find a parasite growing in her leg and laying eggs at night.

Marystella Gomez, 27, noticed small pimples on her leg after a trip to the beach in Colombia.

She thought nothing of it, but soon found the spots turned into a rash that kept getting bigger.

She went to the doctor to investigate, who said it was likely caused by an allergic reaction or possible even a fungal infection.

But the truth turned out to be far more harrowing...

“I started scratching my leg more and more,” Marystella said.

“Strangely, I only scratched my leg a lot at night and I didn't understand why.

She noticed small pimples on her leg after a trip the beach in Colombia (Jam Press Vid/@doscabraslocas)
The rash was later revealed to be caused by hookworm infection (Jam Press Vid/@doscabraslocas)

“I went to the emergency room and they told me that they had a fungus or an allergy and they gave me medicine. The medicine didn't work and my leg got worse and worse.

“A couple of days after going to the emergency room I had an appointment with the dermatologist. It was then, the doctor told me that I had a parasite.”

It was later revealed that the rash was caused by a parasite known as a hookworm infection, leading to a skin condition called cutaneous larva migrans.

Hookworm larva can burrow into human skin and live there for several weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

She caught the infection by simply sunbathing on a beach (Jam Press Vid/@doscabraslocas)

She told “Many people take their dogs and cats to the beach and they poop.

“The owners don't pick it up and then it stays in the sand and you sit or step on the sand and the parasite sticks to you.

“The parasite sticks by direct contact with the skin.

“The dermatologist sent me medication to kill the parasite and it went away.

“He also told me that the reason I scratch so much at night is because parasites lay eggs at night.

“The fact is that the dermatologist saved me.”

Hookworms are spread through infected animal faeces (Jam Press Vid/@doscabraslocas)

Hookworms tend to be spread through animal faeces, added the CDC.

When humans come into contact with it, the larva penetrate the skin - usually in the foot - and then make their way through the top layer of skin.

It leaves a characteristic rash on the skin that looks similar to the shape of worms.

In rare cases, the hookworms can even infect the intestines, leading to stomach pain, diarrhoea, and general discomfort.

Social media users were left horrified by the story with hundreds of comments left on Marystella's TikTok.

One person said: “T r a u m a.” [sic]

Xelena commented: “I see a lot of people saying that the same thing happened to them in Coveñas, that’s not where I go.”

Angie added: “Nooo new fear deactivated, one can no longer even touch sand.” [sic]

“Thank goodness I’m not going to the beach,” wrote one TikToker.

“Thanks for telling us, I hope you are fully recovered,” added another follower.

“But it’s almost impossible to walk on the beach without wearing sandals”, said Andro.

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