A Kensington man almost died after a parasite crawled through his penis and laid eggs in his internal organs while on a trip to Africa, as reported by The Sun on Friday. 32-year-old James Michael said he became "debilitated" and unable to sleep due to the pain as parasites attacked his body from the inside.
Mr Michael first came into contact with the horrendous parasite when he was on a canoeing trip with friends across Zambia to Zimbabwe in August 2017.
Nearing the end of their "dream holiday", they stopped for five days to canoe in Lake Malawi before deciding to take a last swim ahead of their flight back to the UK.
However, unsuspectingly during the swim, a parasitic flatworm swam into his body via his penis and laid eggs in his vital organs, making James Michael its host.
"When I look back at photos from my time in Africa, it's weird to think that's where the parasite crawled up my penis", James told The Sun.
It was only once he'd returned home that Mr Michael started to feel the problems.
More than a year after the trip, he noticed a loss of feeling in his legs, but waved it off as cycling fatigue. However after struggling to complete basic tasks like walking up flights of stairs, he checked himself into the hospital.
James was initially given antibiotics and sent home, but a week later he felt worse and insisted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital "that something serious was going on".
"I went to the neurology department and they did blood tests to see what was up. They determined quite quickly that my immune system was attacking my spine, leading to the loss of control of my legs".
"I was put on a six-month course of steroids to counter this... but they didn't actually know what had caused this".
He later went on to explain that during his recovery, extreme acne broke out "all over my back and arms", as well as preventing him from using the toilet properly.
"In January, I couldn't use the toilet normally, so had to use a catheter. That was quite embarrassing for me".
"This has been horrendous. It's felt like a never-ending mountain I've had to climb", he added.
Michael told The Sun that the parasite had left him "basically debilitated" and that there was a "30 per cent chance I'd make a full recovery - 10 years from now".
Doctors from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases diagnosed James with schistosomiasis, a disease that stems from a parasitic worm. In this case, it crawled up his penis and laid eggs inside him while on holiday. He was prescribed medication called praziquantel to kill the worm.
Schistosomiasis is commonly found in Africa and attacks the internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys, and in this case caused Michael's immune system to attack his spine.