Couple Infected With Parasitic Hookworms At Beach Share Horrifying Photos

Warning: graphic photos of worms in feet ahead.

This is 22-year-old Katie Stephens and her boyfriend, Eddie Zytner. The Canadian couple recently went on a beach vacation in the Dominican Republic, but they returned with a little more than just good memories.

They both developed cutaneous larva migrans, a skin infection caused by hookworms. Stephens posted pictures of her massively swollen, blistered feet on Facebook, where they went viral.

Facebook: katie.stephens.509

According to the Facebook post, Stephens and her boyfriend believe they picked up the parasites while walking on the beaches of Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, where they were staying at an oceanside resort.

"We did a couple excursions but other people contracted this parasite and they didn't come on the excursions with us, so it would have had to been on the resort or beach where we got it," Stephens told BuzzFeed News in a Facebook message.

"We simply thought it was bug bites and it became worse as each day passed," Stephens wrote. The couple wasn't diagnosed until several days after returning to Canada, when they finally went to a hospital.

Things only got worse. "The hospital said our case wasn't severe enough to receive the medication," Stephens said. The couple said they eventually had to get medication in the US.

Cutaneous larva migrans is a common infection in tropical areas, and most people get it from walking barefoot in sand contaminated with hookworms from dog or cat feces.

The infection often looks like a bug bite or rash at first, but it turns into a painful, snake-shaped blister. Luckily, hookworms are easy to treat.

The best way to protect yourself is by wearing shoes on the beach in tropical areas or going to a private, dog-free area.

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