‘Forget bedbugs – savage Colombian sand fleas left me fearing Smallpox was back’

  • Bookmark
  • Get the best travel tips, advice and holiday deals

    Thank you for subscribing!

    Get the best travel tips, advice and holiday deals

    We have more newsletters

    Skin-crawling reports of bedbugs wreaking havoc across Paris have left worried Brits throwing out furniture amid a leap in infestations across the UK too.

    Councils have admitted to an ‘alarming’ rise in the critters on British soil, while the pests have also made appearances in offices and cars across London. But, while the grim bugs are certainly a pain, my unfortunate run-in with a far worse critter left me itching all night and fearing a comeback of deadly Smallpox.

    Sharing a bed with bedbugs in a hostel in Bucharest, Romania last year did leave me with bite marks and specks of blood on my sheets, but it was nothing compared to the butchering handed to me at the mercy of ruthless Colombian sand fleas.

    READ MOR: UK bedbug outbreak 'coming' as 'manic' pest controllers 'pulled from pillar to post'

    From infuriating tiny pests to massive elephants, our animal news can be read here

    The gorgeous beaches of Palomino, on Colombia’s stunning Caribbean coast, look peaceful and relaxing. But hidden away under the picturesque white sand are tiny organisms waiting to burrow into the skin of their next unsuspecting victim.

    • Storm Babet claims third victim and sends plane off runway – but 'worst is yet to come'

    • EasyJet passenger poos on plane floor leaving Brits stranded as flight is cancelled

    Although the little critters are known as ‘sand fleas’ due to the way they hop and jump across the beach, they’re actually crustaceans – meaning they’re in the same family as crabs and lobsters. The parasites pop up in tropical climates across South and Central America and can bury into their victim’s skin before swelling to up to 2,000 times their original size.

    They’ve been known to lay eggs whilst burrowed in their unfortunate victims, who host the sand flea’s offspring until they hatch and fall out. I was lucky enough to avoid little critters leaping out from beneath my skin yet after a seemingly harmless sunbathe, I counted more than 200 bites from the grim creatures on my feet and ankles alone.

    I remained blissfully unaware of the rampage unfolding as I soaked up the Caribbean sun but within hours of returning from the beach I was left frantically scratching at my skin with a furious intensity.

    Unable to sleep, I spent the night progressing further and further into a black hole of Google diagnoses – with photos of Smallpox and rare tropical diseases leaving me anxious I would need to be raced to a hospital.

    After eventually figuring out the attack had been carried out by brutal sand fleas, I was left smothering on wave after wave of antihistamine and skin cream for over a week.

    So although Brits might be cursing the French for starting an outbreak of bedbugs, we should all count ourselves lucky that UK beaches remain free of Colombia’s savage sand fleas.

    For more shocking stories from the Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here

    • Family
    • Holidays
    • Holidays from Hell
    • Animals

    Source: Read Full Article