Imagine a relaxing vacation to the Caribbean—beaches, sunshine, and…parasitic worms infecting your body?!?
The unlikely grouping became a nightmarish reality for one 45-year-old Pennsylvania woman who, upon returning home from vacation, noticed a strange rash forming on her knee:
When the redness eventually gave way to thin, raised bumps resembling worms, she immediately called her doctor and was soon sent off to the emergency room.
ER doctors quickly recognized the rash: a parasitic infection called “cutaneous larva migrans”—a condition typically caused by hookworms.
That’s right: hookworms, embedded under your skin, attempting to make their way into your large intestines, where they lay countless eggs.
However, the Pennsylvania woman’s case is quite strange, because the specific type of hookworms believed to be responsible for her rash—either Ancylostoma braziliense or Ancylostoma caninum—normally only infect dogs.
Since these two probable worms do not match well with humans as a host, they have trouble navigating the body to find the large intestine, and thus could wander around, including appearing as raised bumps just under the surface of your skin.
This explains the thin lines on the woman’s knee, which doctors say indicate areas where the worm had already pass through.
As for the red rash—it’s the immune system’s response attempting to fight off the parasite.