You may want to rethink going outside barefoot if you live in Texas. There’s currently a spread of a deadly intestinal parasite that enters up through the feet.
Rancho Vista, an area in Texas, which is about an hour away from Austin is currently battling the parasite. Reports of 16 residents including a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old child have been infected.
The parasite is called a Strongyloide, and they are contaminating soil. They are able to live up to three weeks in the soil and will burrow up through the skin of your feet. When it enters the body it inhabits the blood stream and lungs where they then rise to the windpipe. When the person coughs them up they can then be swallowed leading them to the stomach. There they multiply by excreting their larvae.
The parasite is being spread by stray dogs in the area which are bringing it from the area where there was a sewage leak and taking it to other places. They are saying that because most of the residents are Mexican-Americans or immigrants from Mexico and work in lower paying fields that they are more susceptible to the parasite. Having contact with the soil on a daily basis gives them more exposure to it and there’s not much you can do to protect yourself if you need the money.
They are not just in Texas now. Cases have been reported in Los Angeles and over a billion people are infected globally. To treat this doctors may prescribe a single dose of the antiparasitic medication ivermectin (Stromectol) along with a few rounds of albendazole (Albenza) to be taken 10 days apart. But unfortunately doctors that are not familiar with tropical medicine may find it hard to diagnose. Those that do have symptoms have generalized complaints like heart-burn or a tummy ache and diarrhea. And many do not have any symptoms at all. Those with lower immune systems should be especially cautious.