Creeping eruption (also called cutaneous larva migrans or sand-worm disease) is a skin infection caused by hookworms, which are normally found in dogs and cats. The parasite spreads to humans through skin contact with the eggs found in dog and cat feces on the ground. It commonly occurs after exposure to moist, sandy areas that are contaminated. Characterized by severe itching with a red progressive, winding rash (advancing up to 1 to 2 cm per day), it is sometimes accompanied by small blisters. The infection usually appears on areas of the body that have been directly exposed to the contaminated ground, such as the feet, legs, buttocks, or back.
The following are the most common symptoms of creeping eruption. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Winding, snake-like rash. Usually, the hookworm burrows along a tract that creates a winding rash.
The symptoms of creeping eruption may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Creeping eruption may be treated with antiparasitic drugs, such as albendazole.
In the United States, deworming of cats and dogs and effective public sanitation have decreased the frequency of hookworms. Infection is more likely in tropical and semitropical countries. According to the CDC, most cases are reported in travelers to the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and South America. Since the hookworm larvae enter the human body through bare feet, wearing shoes will help prevent infections.