Sam’s feet were covered in tiny holes. When he wiped away the blood, it quickly reappeared again. AAP.
A teenager in Melbourne, Australia who went paddling at the beach is now recovering in hospital after parts of his feet were eaten alive by a mystery flesh-eating bug.
Sam Kanizay, 16, went to Dendy Street beach in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, for a paddle after a football game on Saturday. Rather than have a relaxing soak, however, Sam’s feet and ankles got covered in a swarm of flesh-eating bugs, which gnawed at his skin and caused him to bleed profusely.
After he came out of the water, he noticed that his legs were covered in blood and was taken to hospital to be treated.
Sam first thought he’d merely trodden on a rock, but the bleeding was coming from all over his ankles and feet. When he arrived at the hospital, the doctors also weren’t sure what had caused the holes that had appeared in Sam’s legs.
The nurses at the hospital couldn’t say for certain, but guessed that the flesh-hungry critters could be some form of sea lice.
So his father, Jarrod, decided to head off back to the Melbourne beach to investigate for himself, armed with nothing more than a net and a large slab of meat. Because Australia.
Jarrod managed to capture quite a lot of the little guys using the meat, and brought them back for testing at Sandringham Hospital, Victoria.
“I’ve put meat into a net and they’ve grabbed onto that like no tomorrow. We’ve brought them home and they’ve just attached themselves to this meat,” he told Mail Online.
“They’ve sucked the life out of it.”
Jarrod recorded the creatures doing just that. Warning: It makes for some pretty grim viewing.
Sea lice are marine parasites that feed on the mucus, skin tissue, and blood of host fish. However, marine experts have said this case is unusual.
“I’ve been doing this coming on 20 years now,” marine biologist Michael Brown told Sunrise on Channel Seven, “and I’ve never seen anything like this”.
Sam is hoping to be released from hospital today, now that his wounds have been treated. He has also been biopsied, to check that there are no creatures living inside his wounds.
The incident doesn’t appear to have put people off from swimming in the sea there. A Brighton resident told the Sunday Morning Heraldlocals had shrugged off the incident, and would be swimming as usual today.