Creeping eruption is a human infection with dog or cat hookworm larvae (immature worm).
Hookworm eggs are found in the stool of infected dogs and cats. When the eggs hatch, the larvae infest any contaminated soil and vegetation.
Creeping eruption is more common in countries with warm climates. In the United States, the southeast has the highest rates of infection. The main risk factor for this disease is contact with damp, sandy soil that has been contaminated with infected cat or dog feces. More children than adults are infected.
Your health care provider can often diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. In rare cases, a skin biopsy is done to rule out other conditions. In very rare cases, a blood test is done to see if you have increased eosinophils.
Anti-parasitic drugs such as thiabendazole, albendazole, or ivermectin may be used to treat the infection.
Creeping eruption often goes away by itself over weeks to months. Treatment helps the infection go away more quickly and is successful.
Make an appointment with your health care provider if you or your child have skin sores that are snakelike, itchy, or moving from one area to another.
Public sanitation and deworming of dogs and cats have decreased hookworm infestation in the United States.
Hookworm larvae often enter the body through bare feet, so wearing shoes in areas where hookworm infestations are known to occur helps prevent infection.
Cutaneous larvae migrans; Zoonotic hookworm; Ancylostoma caninum; Ancylostoma braziliensis; Bunostomum phlebotomum; Uncinaria stenocephala
Diemert DJ. Intestinal nematode infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 365.
Nash TE. Visceral larvae migrans and other unusual helminth infections. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolan R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2009:chap 291.
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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