CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
The cause of swimmer's itch is an allergic reaction to parasites that migrate from snails to ducks, geese, gulls, swans, muskrats and beavers. The parasites then return to water through infected feces and eggs.
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.
- Wilson ME, et al. Helminthic infections. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3000222&searchStr=schistosomiasis%2c+cutaneous#3000222. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Wolff K, et al. Arthropod bites, stings and cutaneous infections. In: 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/content.aspx?aID=5197009&searchStr=schistosomiasis%2c+cutaneous#5197009. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Swimmer's itch (cercarial dermatitis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cercarialdermatitis/factsht_cercarialdermatitis.htm. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Swimmer's itch. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/swimmers_itch.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.