WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Michael Dumas’ day of relaxation at Pompano Beach with his friends became a haunting experience.
- When the teenager returned home to Memphis, Tennessee, he suffered from an earache, rashes on his feet and red bumps on his body.
- It turned out, Michael was infected by hookworms, which he got from his trip to Florida.
Michael Dumas of Memphis, Tennessee went on a missionary trip last month to Florida with other boys from his church. On June 18, the group headed to Pompano Beach to relax. But their fun day “would soon haunt them for weeks.”
Michael developed a painful earache when he returned home to Memphis, then rashes on his feet appeared. His mother, Kelli Mulhollen Dumas, decided to take him to the family doctor when red bumps started to show up on his body. The pediatrician’s diagnosis: Michael was infected by hookworms.
“Hearing your son has parasitic worms inside of his body and that they’re replicating and growing? As a mother, my stomach tightened up into a big tight ball and started flipping around. I thought I was going to throw up,” Kelli told PEOPLE.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hookworms are parasites that are usually contracted through the fecal matter of an infected person. If the contaminated feces are left on the ground after someone defecates, hookworm larvae can then penetrate the skin of those who come in contact with it, such as when someone walks across the ground with their bare feet, People wrote.
Michael recalled that his friends buried him in the sand while having fun at the beach. Kelli believes that it is there where Michael contracted the parasitic hookworms.
They later found out that five other boys who visited Pompano Beach with Michael were also infected by hookworms.
Michael has received a series of medications to treat the infection and underwent a cryotherapy session get rid of the parasites.
“The doctor started on his left foot, between his toes,” Kelli said. “That’s when Michael told [the doctor] that he could feel the worms moving inside of his body trying to get away as she was torching them. That was disgusting.”
Doctors found one hookworm, among many, measuring three-inches in length buried under Michael’s skin.
Symptoms of a severe hookworm infection include abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and anemia, the CDC says. The agency advises people to refrain from walking barefoot in areas where there could be possible fecal contamination.