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Sea Lice Attack Teenager in Melbourne, Australia

The Beach Is Canceled After This Teenager Got Attacked by Flesh-Eating Sea Lice

Sam Kanizay was enjoying a day at the beach in Melbourne, Australia, when he felt a tingling sensation overcome his legs while he was wading ashore. With the sun already setting, the 16-year-old couldn't get a good look at what it was that was causing him to feel that way, but when he later stood under a street light, he was horrified to find his lower legs covered in blood.

In an interview with The Age, Kanizay said he initially thought he had stepped on a rock, "But I realized that couldn't have been it, because it was evenly distributed over my whole ankle and foot."

When he got home, his head-scratching predicament worsened as he could not stop the blood from flowing out of what appeared to be countless minuscule holes. Kanizay went to the emergency room — where he was told that sea lice were likely to blame.

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Sea lice are tiny crustaceans that feed on the remains of dead fish, as well as the tissue of living hosts. According to Michael Keough, a professor of marine biology at the University of Melbourne, sea lice are scavengers. He told The Age, "The bites they make are pretty small, and so that's more consistent with pinprick size marks. It's just food for them. Especially if he's been standing around for a long time, it's the chance for more of them to come in and start biting."

Though Kanizay's situation is still being assessed by doctors, the teenager's father has advised residents in the area about the potential danger. As for Kanizay, he's still in shock. Reflecting on the initial tingling sensation he felt, Kanizay said, "I wasn't really thinking about being eaten."

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