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July 27, 2018

Contact: Candy Sims, Public Information Office

(954) 895-5745

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has received reports of four cases of animal-associated hookworm infection. An investigation into these reports is ongoing. Hookworm is a parasite transmitted primarily by walking barefoot on soil or sand contaminated by animal waste. 

Residents and visitors are reminded to avoid walking barefoot and to use beach towels where animal waste may be present. Keep children and pets from ingesting soil or sand. Residents are also reminded to regularly give their pets veterinarian-recommended medication to prevent infection with worms, properly dispose of pet waste, not walk their pets on the beach, not feed stray animals and avoid areas with stray or wild animals present.

The signs and symptoms of hookworm include itching and a localized rash. Animal-associated hookworm infections typically only involve the skin, but can be very itchy and can persist for several weeks if untreated. Hookworm is treatable with medication.

The Department continues to work with local officials to further reduce the risk of exposure. 

If you feel you have been exposed, call your health care provider immediately and contact the Florida Department of Health in Broward County at (954) 467-4700 ext.5580.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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