Eddie Zytner and Katie Stephens went to the Dominican Republic to make some amazing memories in a tropical setting. What they got instead was something they could have never imagined. The couple ended up contracting hookworms.
They posted their story on social media to spread awareness to travelers as well as doctors. “We want to make it known to more doctors what it is, what to look for and stuff because it took us a few trips to the hospital to find out what it was,” Zytner told CTV News.
While vacationing in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Eddie and Katie opted to take a romantic, barefoot walk on a beach at IFA Villas Bavaro Resort. Afterwards, they “found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit.” The couple reportedly assumed the itching was being caused by sand fleas but decided to get it checked it out anyway, after the condition worsened.
Twenty-five-year-old Eddie Zytner said that by the time he made it back to his home country, his feet were extremely swollen. He also remembered small bumps forming on his toes.
“Simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed,” 22-year-old Katie Stephens said on Facebook.
Zytner claimed he went to three doctors. The first two were completely clueless (which is what fueled the couple’s desire to share their story). Luckily, his third doctor had seen a similar case involving a patient who’d just traveled to Thailand.
“To anybody travelling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes,” Stephens wrote on Facebook. She went on to say that two contracted larva migrant (aka hookworms).
“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 22-year-old added.
The post also included a head nod to Canada’s national public health department, Health Canada. Because the medicine the couple needed — ivermectin, a medicine used to kill worms developing in the body — is not licensed in Canada, Stephen’s mom was forced to drive all the way to Detroit, Michigan to get it.
“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,” she wrote. “Thank you Canada for your lovely health care you provide for us!”
She ended the post letting people know that she’s not seeking attention for compensation, merely to spare someone from going through the same thing she did. “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,” she concluded.