Most Sodwana regulars have suffered from this terrible itch, but few know what it is. I put together a bit of information for you.
What we call sandworm is also called creeping eruption or cutaneous larva migrans. Sandworm is caused by the larvae of the dog and cat hookworm , Ancylostoma Brasiliense. The eggs found in dog or cat poo hatch in warm, shady, moist, sandy soil. (Now I understand why dogs are banned on many beaches)
When you walk barefoot on the sand, the larva quickly enters the skin. It travels around under the surface of the skin and leaves behind a raised blister like track. The larva migrates 2mm to 2cm per day. The actual larva is usually 1-2cm further than the track. The larva cannot penetrate into deeper layers of human skin and roams around until it dies, which can take anything form a couple of weeks to a year. The itching and the redness are caused by an allergic response of the person to the larva or its by-products.
Tea tree oil helps for the itching. To kill the worm, thiabendazole comes up as the drug of choice on most internet sites . It can be taken as a pill or applied as an ointment. In this area the ‘Hluhluwe-pharmacy-blue-sandworm- remedy’ has time and again done the trick for me (I keep a bottle or two in my dispensary to save you driving all the way). The active ingredient of this remedy is Albendazole. Chris, the pharmacist from Kozi Bay Pharmacy uses levamasol as a topical application. If you are a barefooter with thick soles the topical application often does not penetrate and does not work. In this case, ask your pharmacist for Bendex, Albendazole in a pill form. It is a sceduled drug, so dont take it lightly.
Other sites used:
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/998709-overview Ancylostoma caninum