A Tennessee teenager who visited Pompano Beach, Florida, in June has more than the usual memories of his trip.
Some people come back from the Sunshine State with a sunburn. Some maybe get stung by a jellyfish. But some have much worse experiences.
Michael Dumas, 17, of Memphis, was infected with hookworms after a beach visit that included being buried in the sand by his friends. He had been on a mission trip to South Florida and took time off for a day of relaxation.
A few days later, bumps appeared under the skin of his legs and thighs and he was diagnosed him with a severe case of hookworms, according to WFOR. At least four others in his group were also infected.
Hookworms infect victims after the hookworm larvae penetrate the skin. The worms then grow and reproduce until treated.
“This has just been an incredible nightmare and it started off with joy,” said Kelli Dumas, Michael’s mother, according to WJAX.
She recalled her son’s anguish as a dermatologist tried to freeze the worms during one of his many treatments.
“When she was using the liquid nitrogen, he could actually feel the worms moving in his body,” she said.
Beach warning: "He was buried in the sand for fun and it has become our nightmare," Kelli Dumas wrote about her 17-year-old son's infection. https://t.co/Nmh7x8t3l1
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) July 28, 2018
Kelli Dumas also shared her son’s story on her Facebook page. She included several pictures of what his feet and legs looked like after being infected.
She noted in a July 30 post that her son was still on medication for his June 18 infection, and that some medicines cost $1,356 for six pills.
“He is in pain and this is AWFUL. Never be buried in sand or allow your children to be either! I am only showing a few pictures because it is so disturbing. Please, please pray for him to heal,” she wrote.
She also had a bone to pick with local authorities.
“The Health Department in Pompano Beach said, ‘Everyone knows to wear shoes on the beach because you can get parasites.’ I assured them everyone does NOT KNOW THAT!!” she posted.
“How many people have been on the beach since June 19?,” Dumas said she asked the Broward County Health Department. “How many people have been on the beach since I called her July 17? She told me when I said ‘I just want you to put a warning sign,’ she said to me ‘That’s not my job.’”
Kelli Dumas said her son, still homebound, can’t wear shoes and has to soak infected areas in bleach every day.
“My son intends to go to Ghana next year,” Dumas said. “Am I going to let him go without any fear? Not sure. Not sure if I’m ever going to let him out of my sight right now.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.