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Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Sea Fleas Might be the Culprits Behind Bloody Bites on Teen's Leg

Sea Fleas Might be the Culprits Behind Bloody Bites on Teen's Leg

He lured them into a net using little chunks of meat as bait.

She said it was possible the bugs contained an anti-coagulant similar to that produced by leeches, which explained the inability to stem the flow of blood.

"I collected these unusual creatures from the same spot last night by trapping them in a net and standing in the water myself", he told the BBC.

A spokesperson for Monash Health, which oversees Dandenong Hospital where Sam was sent to, said they are still assessing the patient and it could be too early for his doctor to comment on his case.

Searching for answers about his son's mysterious injury, Sam's father Jarrod Kanizay returned to the same beach spot where his son was bitten.

Sam was given antibiotics transferred to another hospital for further tests.

"Whenever he will move, it will open up those wounds, so I think there'll be some time, probably, on the couch when he gets home".

"As soon as we wiped them (his legs) down, they kept bleeding", he said.

At first, experts were left scratching their heads as to what the meat-loving animals these were.

But Walker-Smith told the ABC's RN Breakfast program the amphipods posed no risk to the public and that it was safe to go back into the water. Although the images show very serious sores in the younger legs, the truth is that they are superficial as the bites are many but not deep. When hosing their feet off, they noticed "tadpole-like creatures", a physical trait more consistent with sea lice.

The story of the boy with the bloody feet went round the world, with the Kanizays hearing from relatives who saw news reports in Slovenia, while it also made headlines in Norway, Sweden and Tanzania.

Mr Murray told the Bayside Leader he did not feel pain initially and they only realised their feet were bleeding when they got out of the ocean.

They discovered thousands of tiny bites on the teen's legs, nearly as if he had been pricked with a pin repeatedly.

"We just had to get him to hospital".

Associate Professor Reina said sea fleas should not alarm people or deter them from swimming.

"They are just little animals following their natural instinct and eating what they thought was a free meal", he said.

He described the weird creatures as "scavengers who'll clean up dead fish and feed on living tissue", typically less than a centimeter in length and thus likely to produce pinprick-size marks on skin. He added that people should not be so concerned.

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