Couple develop severe feet deformities after romantic walk on the beach

A young Canadian couple, Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner, who recently returned from the Dominican Republic is warning those who are planning to travel “somewhere tropical” about the risks of walking barefoot on the beach sand after coming home with “incredibly itchy” feet — which turned out to be parasites.


Katie Stephens, 22, of Ontario, told CTV News that while staying at the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, she and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Eddie Zytner, “found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit.”





She wrote on her Facebook timeline:


To anybody travelling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes! My boyfriend and I recently got back from Punta Cana to discover that we both have larva migrans, in other terms worms in our feet. If your feet become incredibly itchy please get it checked out right away since we simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed.

The resort we stayed at was IFA villas bavaro resort and spa. Also, this injury has nothing to do with coverage or travel insurance, I was back in my home country when I was first treated and don’t need travel coverage for what I have.

Also, to top it off health Canada denied our request to receive the medicine (ivermectin) we needed to treat our infection and were forced to get medicine from the states. Thank you Canada for your lovely health care you provide for us!

After returning home Jan. 18, Zytner noticed his feet had become very swollen and small bumps had developed on his toes.



Katie Stephens wrote on Facebook that the couple “simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed.”

Two doctors were stumped by what was causing the swelling, but Zytner said a third doctor recognized the condition, as he had recently seen a similar case from a tourist who traveled to Thailand.

The couple, according to Stephens’ Facebook post, contracted larva migrans, known in layman’s terms as hookworms. She said she likely came into contact with the parasites while walking on the sandy beaches of their resort in Punta Cana.

A doctor prescribed the two ivermectin — a medicine used to kill worms developing in the body.


Zytner said his feet are progressively getting better each day, and the couple’s next step is to see a specialist to determine what treatment they need for the skin damage on their feet.

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