Swimmer's Itch ~ Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
What is Swimmer's Itch? Causes Report a Case Reported Cases/Location Control Program Photo Gallery Swimmer's Itch FAQ Contact

What causes swimmer's itch?

Swimmer's itch is caused by aquatic parasites (flatworms) that naturally cycle between two different hosts, most commonly snails and ducks.

Unfortunately, the parasite stages released from snails are unable to distinguish duck skin from human skin. When they accidentally penetrate into the skin of a sensitive individual the parasites are unable to pass through the epidermis. They soon die, causing an allergic reaction ending with the formation of a papule (i.e., a red, raised itchy spot).

 

For more information on swimmer's itch contact:

Curtis L. Blankespoor
Calvin College Biology Department
123 DeVries Hall / 1726 Knollcrest Circle, SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546-4403
616.526.6498 / fax 616.526.6501
blankespoor@calvin.edu

Ronald L. Reimink
Scientist, SICON, LLC
6906 48th Ave.
Hudsonville, Michigan 49426
reiminkron@gmail.com

Larvae