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Waterfowl blamed for Swimmer’s Itch at Lake Mead

Park rangers at Lake Mead  have evaluated the beach and observed a larger than normal population of waterfowl at the shoreline and in the water, determining that the rashes reported are likely Swimmer’s Itch.
Park rangers at Lake Mead have evaluated the beach and observed a larger than normal population of waterfowl at the shoreline and in the water, determining that the rashes reported are likely Swimmer’s Itch.
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Updated: 10/08/2012 1:47 pm
BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- The Lake Mead National Recreation Area authorities have received two reports that nine individuals have developed a rash similar to poison ivy after swimming at Boulder Beach over the weekend.

Park rangers have evaluated the beach and observed a larger than normal population of waterfowl at the shoreline and in the water, determining that the rashes reported are likely Swimmer’s Itch.

Swimmer’s Itch is caused when parasites that are present in some birds come in contact with human skin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasites produce eggs that are passed in the feces of infected birds or mammals. Through a lifecycle process, larvae may burrow into swimmer’s skin, causing an allergic reaction.

“Because these larvae cannot develop inside a human, they soon die,” the CDC website on Swimmer’s Itch reports. “Most cases of Swimmer’s Itch do not require medical attention.”

If after swimming, a rash develops, first-aid treatment includes anti-itch lotion or corticosteroid cream. It is also best to towel dry after swimming.

Leadership at the park has been notified about the reports, and water quality tests will be conducted.

The beaches are not closed at this time, but park rangers are monitoring the shorelines. Visitors who see excess waterfowl droppings at beaches are advised to stay out of the water.

This is a common occurrence worldwide during the warm migration season. For more information on Swimmer’s Itch, visit the CDC website.


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