Hookworms are parasitic intestinal nematodes, several of which are zoonotic. In their normal hosts, hookworms may enter the body either by ingestion or through the skin. Larvae that penetrate the skin travel through various organs, including the respiratory tract, before entering the intestines and developing into mature hookworms. Hookworms can cause anemia, abdominal pain and diarrhea when they reside in the intestines, or respiratory, dermatologic and other signs during their migration through the body.
Most animal hookworm infections result in a skin condition called cutaneous larva migrans. People are infected when animal hookworm larvae penetrate the skin, causing a local reaction that is red and itchy. Raised, red tracks appear in the skin where the larvae have been and these tracks may move in the skin day to day, following the larvae’s movements.
Hookworms can be treated with a wide variety of anthelmintics, however, resistance has been detected in the case of some commonly used drugs such as pyrantel in dogs. Supportive care such as supplemental iron, blood transfusions or a high protein diet may also be necessary in some cases.
Hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans is a parasitic dermatosis caused by the penetration of larvae, mostly of a dog or cat hookworm, into the epidermis of humans.This eruption is most commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas but was recently reported from Western Europe. Only 4 cases of hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans were previously reported in France, all from southern regions.