POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A teen who visited South Florida is recovering after he contracted a hookworm infection on a trip to Pompano Beach.
Michael Dumas, 17, came to South Florida as part of a mission trip with his church on June 20. However, while he was in the Sunshine State, Dumas and three others went home with some unwanted passengers: hookworms.
“We have a definitive diagnosis. Cutaneous larva migrans,” said the teen’s mother, Kelli Dumas. “He has open, gaping wounds. He has a staph infection now.”
A 15 minute trip at Pompano Beach has left scars on the teen’s skin, his mother said.
According to a Facebook post from the teen’s mother, doctors have tried several treatment methods, all to no avail.
Dermatologists have even tried to freeze the worms. “When she was using the liquid nitrogen, he could actually feel the worms moving inside of his body,” said the mother.
According to the Center of Disease Control, hookworms are a parasite that can penetrate the skin of humans. The primary method of infection is walking on contaminated sand or soil.
Most infected people will not notice symptoms. However, serious infections can result in blood loss leading to anemia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue.
Dumas said she reached out to the Broward County Health Department.
“How many people have been on the beach since June 19? How many people have been on the beach since I called her July 17?” Dumas said. “She told me, when I said I just want you to put a warning sign, she said to me, ‘That’s not my job.'”
Dumas said her son is now home-bound and has to soak the infected area in bleach water every day.
“My son intends to go to Ghana next year,” the mother said. “Am I gonna let him go with any fear? Not sure. Not sure if I’m ever gonna let him out of my sight right now.”
7News has since reached out to the Broward County Health Department. They said this incident is something they are investigating.
The CDC said there are millions of people worldwide that are infected with hookworm every year.
There are far fewer incidents like it in the United States. However, it is usually in an area where there is poor sanitation.
CDC officials said whenever residents or visitors are near sand or soil, it’s advised to keep their shoes on.
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