An Itch from a Back Yard Pool

Pediatrics Research International Journal

Download PDF

Ritva Nissi

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland

Volume (2016), Article ID 674017, Pediatrics Research International Journal, 2 pages, DOI: 10.5171/2016.674017

Received date : 24 September 2014; Accepted date : 16 January 2015; Published date : 22 September 2016

Academic editor: Birger Trollfors

Cite this Article as: Ritva Nissi (2016), “An Itch from a Back Yard Pool ", Pediatrics Research International Journal, Vol. 2016 (2016), Article ID 674017, DOI: 10.5171/2016.674017

Copyright © 2016. Ritva Nissi. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0


Swimmer's itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, is a common but not a so well recognized disease as recently reviewed by Horák (2015). It appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain parasites that infect some birds and mammals. Swimmer's itch is found throughout the world and is more frequent during summer months. Most cases of swimmer's itch do not require medical attention. In this case report, we present an unusual infection route.


Keywords: cercarial dermatitis, swimmer's itch, infection route

Introduction and case presentation

On a warm late summer holiday, a family with four children decided to make their own aquarium to the back yard and collected small fish and water snails form a nearby lake to a small pool. On the next day, all children suffered from itching on their hands and legs. Antihistamines and topical corticosteroids were used to control the itch and the pool was emptied.

Discussion and conclusion

Cercarial dermatitis, also referred as swimmer´s itch in especially common in children but only a few cases has been reported via contact with an aquarium, as described by Fölster-Holst (2001).  The diagnosis is made by observing the maculopapular skin eruptions affecting areas exposed to water.

During late summer, cercarial dermatitis is a relatively common disease. The primary hosts, mainly water birds, excrete parasitic eggs in their faeces. In water, the larvae hatch from the eggs and penetrate aquatic snails, which serve as intermediate hosts, studied by González (1989). The snails release cercariae, which are able to infect water birds again. Cercariae die within few hours in human epidermis, but skin eruption may last for two weeks.

 Four brothers share a papulous and itching rash



1.    Horák, P,, Mikes, L., Lichtenbergova, L., Skála, V., Soldánova, M., and Brandt, S.V. (2015) “Avian schistosomes and outbreaks of cercarial dermatitis,” Clinical Microbiology Reviews 28 (1) 165-190.
PublisherGoogle Scholar
2.    Fölster-Holst, R., Disko, R., Rowert, J., Bockeler, W., Kreiselmaier, I. and Christophers, E. (1996) “Cercarial dermatitis contracted via contact with an aquarium: case report and review,” British Journal of  Dermatology,  145 (4) 638-40.

3.    González, E. (1989) “Schistosomiasis, cercarial dermatitis, and marine dermatitis,” Clinics of Dermatology, 7 (2) 291-300.
Google Scholar