Elephant’s Leg


Anyone for noodles?

There are many interpretations of “getting the itch” if you live in Thailand. It could be a desire for travel. It could be a mosquito bite. It could be a rash after eating some dodgy seafood. Or it could be an after-effect of indulging in some naughty nightlife.

So I wasn’t too concerned when an itchy red bump appeared on the side of my foot early last week. It looked and felt just like a mosquito bite, of which I have had thousands in my life. By now, I can even resist the temptation to scratch.I was a bit concerned, however, when the next morning I noticed my mosquito bite had grown a tail. Further concern ensured when the “tail” had doubled in length by the time I finished work, so I went to see a doctor.

As it was just a walk-in appointment, I saw GP rather than a specialist, so he couldn’t confirm what it was. He gave me an antihistamine cream and told me to go back and see a specialist if it handed cleared up two days later.

Two days later, I had two snaking, red lines growing out of the original “bite” and I didn’t need to be or see a specialist to make a good guess about what it was.


The specialist confirmed this. He didn’t do any tests to determine exactly which kind of worm, but that it was worms was obvious. He froze the “bite” – evidently the entry point and/or eggs site – with liquid nitrogen and prescribed Albendazole tablets to kill those two worms and any that I may have internally.

A day later, progression of the tracks had ceased, two days later itching had stopped, and from then the lines started fading, so hopefully that means the treatment has done its job.

So, in all, not an overly distressing or disabling experience, but certainly an unpleasant thought to have wriggling things beneath your skin and feeding from your flesh. For all the advantages life in the tropics has over life in grey old Blighty, being a host body for squirming parasites isn’t one of them!

4 Comments so far
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This worm that you are talking about is called a “hookworm.” I’m sure it was very discomforting. These types of worms can be from animals and uncooked fish. f you were in Thailand and ate from an outside food stall, you’re chances are pretty high in getting a lot of parasites in your food. Thais like to leave food left out. If you go to eat at a proper restaurant, you wouldn’t have that much of a problem with food. Hope everything turned out alright.

Minnie (in Thailand)

Comment by Minnie

Hi Minnie. Well, as said, the precise species was never diagnosed and I’m not especially concerned about that. As for where it came from, I suspect it was from walking barefoot along a muddy riverbank a week or so prior.

Re. food, I do eat street food but never any that’s not cooked to order. I actually find that’s safer than some “proper restaurants”, because there’s no way of knowing the standards behind the doors of a closed kitchen. And to that end, actually all but one of stomach upsets while in Thailand have come from “proper restaurants” or international chains!

Comment by elephantsleg

I got the same thing a week or so ago ,
The itching was really bad in the beginning , i did not go to the doctor thinking its a spider bite or a mosquito bite.
But then the affected area start to change direction
Today I went to the doctor I did see a GP and he was able to identify the worm in 3 seconds and gave me Albendazole to take for 3 days.
Yes it is a hookworm , mine looks exactly like the pictures online

Comment by Vlad

Hi! My friend asking for help! She did not know what to do. She cant the doctor because she has financial problem. She asked me for a medicine. She got like yours when she is sitting on the beach. She said that it Started with itch !

Comment by Airah macasiil

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