Creeping eruption is a skin infection caused by hookworms. The infection is also called cutaneous larva migrants or sandworm disease.
Creeping eruption causes severe itching, blisters, and a red growing, winding rash. The rash can grow up to 1 to 2 centimeters per day. The infection usually appears on areas of the body that have been exposed to the contaminated ground. These include the feet, legs, buttocks, or back.
Creeping eruption is caused by hookworms. Hookworm eggs are found in the feces of dogs and cats. After the eggs hatch, they mature into worms. The infection can be spread to people from skin contact with the worms in the feces. Hookworms may be found in moist, sandy areas. Walking barefoot on contaminated grounds in warm climates is how most people get this condition.
The rash usually shows up 1 to 5 days after you have been exposed to the hookworms. But sometimes it can take more than 1 month to show up. Each person may have slightly different symptoms. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of creeping eruption may look like other skin conditions. Always see your physician for a diagnosis.
Your physician will usually make the diagnosis based on your medical history and a physical exam.
Creeping eruption may be treated with antiparasitic medicines (orally or topical creams) such as albendazole, and ivermectin, and thiabendazole. This condition is self-limiting and will disappear over weeks to months even if not treated.
People are rarely exposed to hookworms in the U.S. This is because most cats and dogs are dewormed. Public areas are also kept clean. Infection is more likely in tropical and semitropical countries. Most cases are reported in people who have traveled to the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and South America. Since the hookworm larvae often enter the body through bare feet, wearing shoes will help stop infection.