Warning: This story contains graphic images that may disturb some viewers.
22-year-old Katie Stephens and her partner Eddie Zytner, 25, both from Canada, recently took a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. "Sand fleas we had heard about so we kind of assumed it was that at first".
But when they returned home, they noticed their feet beginning to swell. By that weekend, the swelling had gotten worse and small bumps developed on his toes.
CTV reports doctors sent Zytner home from the hospital with bandages after being unable to determine the cause of his symptoms.
However, on January 19, Zytner noticed that his feet were swelling, and over the following days, his condition worsened.
By Sunday, Stephens' feet also began to swell.
When Ms Stephens' feet became swollen as well, the couple went to a hospital, where a third doctor was able to diagnose their condition. The doctor remembered a similar case from a traveler who had recently returned from Thailand.
A couple from Canada's holiday to the Dominican Republic was wrecked after they picked up parasites on their feet.
"I wanted to make this post because most doctors have never seen Larva Migrans before".
When the couple tried to get ivermectin, a drug that will treat hookworm infections, they experienced first-hand a problem that The Globe and Mail has reported to be widespread: some common medications used to treat tropical illnesses and other diseases are not available in Canada because no drug company will sell them, despite their availability in other countries like the United States. "They said our case wasn't severe enough to get the medication".
Referring to his feet, he said: "They looked a little bit better yesterday".
Stephens' mother had to drive over the Canadian-US border to Detroit in order to pick up the ivermectin they needed. They took it for two days and now say they're starting to feel a little better-although they still need to use crutches to get around.
"Good hygiene standards and effective sewage disposal systems are the reason hookworm infections aren't commonly seen in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, although they may still be a problem in some Mediterranean countries". "So we'll have another chance to look at them and see how it's progressing".
According to the Windsor Star, they have been told the infection should subside in a few weeks, but healing the skin damage could take months.
To inform their friends and any other person who wants to travel or go to the beach, the couple uploaded photos on their Facebook profiles showing what the parasite made to their feet.
"For a lot of our trip, we found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit", Zytner told the outlet.