The parasites that cause swimmer's itch live in the blood of waterfowl and in animals that live near ponds and lakes. Examples include:
The parasite's eggs enter the water via their hosts' feces. Prior to infecting birds, animals or people, the hatched parasites must live for a time within a type of snail. These snails live near the shoreline, which explains why infections occur most often in shallow water.
Swimmer's itch isn't contagious from person to person, so you don't need to worry about catching swimmer's itch from someone who has this itchy rash.
Feb. 18, 2014
- Parasites: Cercarial dermatitis (also known as swimmer's itch). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2013.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed Sept. 20, 2013.
- Auerbach PS, et al. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clincalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 20, 2013.