Have you got the itch?

Swimmer’s Itch is the common name for a rash you can develop after swimming in many lakes around the world. The itch is caused by free-swimming larvae of parasites, called schistosomes, accidentally penetrating your skin while you are in the water. This causes an allergic reaction to occur and results in a rash to form that can last up to two weeks. In Alberta, swimmer’s itch is common but we know very little about where it will occur and how many people are affected. To find out where it will occur, we first need to understand what aquatic snails and birds are acting as hosts for schistosomes, as these two animals are required for schistosome development. Then we need to be able to make predictions as to where and when swimmer’s itch is at its highest risk during the swimming season to alert the public in a timely manner. By participating in our online survey, you can help us in our research. By filling out the survey with information related to your recent case of swimmer’s itch, you can also help inform others. The information from the survey is used to update an outbreak map. The map is interactive and highlights recent swimmer’s itch reports, so you can keep up-to-date with the latest outbreaks occurring across Canada.