Cercarial dermatitis


Swimmer's itch; bather's itch; clam digger's itch; silt itch; swamp itch; sedge pool itch


Pruritic eruption from an inflammatory reaction to schistosomal cercariae at the point of entry


Snail as primary host for schistosomal cer-cariae; free-swimming organisms penetrate into human skin and fail to complete life cycle; inflammatory reaction to the organism causes inflammation

Clinical manifestation

Localized pruritus followed by red macules and papules; occurring mainly in exposed parts of the skin; inflammatory response peaking at 2-3 days and subsiding in 1-2 weeks

Differential diagnosis

Seabather's eruption; insect bite reaction; harvest mite infestation; creeping eruption


Ice compresses applied for 15-20 minutes 24 times per day; mid potency topical corti-costeroids; antihistamines, first generation, for nighttime sedation


Folster-Holst R, Disko R, Rowert J, Bockeler W, Kreiselmaier I, Christophers E (2001) Cercarial dermatitis contracted via contact with an aquarium: case report and review. British Journal of Dermatology 145(4^638-640

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