Feral cats using the sands of Miami Beach as a giant communal litter box has led to an increasing outbreak of hookworm. The Miami-Dade Department of Health has confirmed that three new cases of hookworm have appeared in humans. Great, we've now got hookworm, cholera and dengue fever warnings in town. At least we don't have bedbugs. Yet.
Reports of hookworm infections in Miami Beach popped up late last month
when as many as 15 people were believed to be infected. The outbreak has effected the stretch of beach between 50th and 65th Streets.
Since then officials have been policing the beach for evidence of feral cats. CBS4 reports
that this morning several dollops of fresh cat feces, tons of cat food and hundreds of feral kitties hiding in the mangroves were found. It seems as though well-intentioned folks feeding the cats may be contributing to the problem.
Cat feces is a common breeding ground for hookworm. Beach goers are warned to wear shoes while on the beach, and to use towels or chairs instead of sitting down on the sand directly in order to avoid the parasite.