People wondering about catching swimmer’s itch can get in the know with a University of Alberta website before heading to the lake this summer.
SWIMMERSITCH.ca lets people report their own cases of the rash, alert others to problem areas around North America, learn more about the condition and fill out a survey that helps U of A researchers pinpoint when and where the parasites that cause swimmer’s itch are most prevalent.
Swimmer’s itch is contracted by swimming in lakes, and is caused by the larvae of a worm-like parasites that are released into the water by infected snails and can penetrate the skin to cause the itch.
“We want to help people make informed choices about where they swim by providing information on where swimmer’s itch is occurring and through education, which is what the website provides. We want to use it as a tool to connect with people.”
The website provides updates on swimmer’s itch research, an online survey that lets people report their cases and a resulting map that shows the shifting locations and dates of outbreaks (factors like wind and time of day can influence where the parasite is most abundant), so they can decide whether they want to visit a particular lake that day.
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