Cercarial dermatitis: Clinical course and prevention
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Department of Medical Biology, School of Public Health, Collegium Medicum, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Submission date: 2024-03-25
Final revision date: 2024-04-09
Acceptance date: 2024-04-10
Online publication date: 2024-07-02
Corresponding author
Joanna Korycińska   

Department of Medical Biology, School of Public Health, Collegium Medicum, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Żołnierska 14C, 10-561, Olsztyn, Poland
Cercarial dermatitis (swimmer's itch) is a water-borne parasitic skin disease caused by larvae (cercariae) of a nonhuman species of schistosome. The prevailing symptoms are nodulopapular skin lesions accompanied by pruritus. The condition occurs virtually worldwide and is considered to be an emerging public health problem in Europe. In most cases, the symptoms are associated with cercariae of avian schistosomes of the genus Trichobilharzia spp.

The aim of this review article is to present the most important information on the course of the disease, its diagnostics, treatment and epidemiology. Additionally, it offers an account of preventive measures targeted at reducing the risk of infection.

Material and methods:
A literature search was conducted using electronic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar and Willey Online Library. Altogether, 40 articles were subject to analysis.

Results and discussion:
The data obtained from the literature survey process were systematised and presented in 5 sections. Clinically, effective control of swimmer’s itch should comprise measures from the fields of diagnostics, treatment, epidemiology and prevention.

Swimmer’s itch poses diagnostic difficulties, primarily due to the low specificity of its symptoms. Owing to a lack of conclusive data on the fate of cercariae penetrating human skin and a growing number of documented cases of cercarial dermatitis worldwide, further intensive research into the matter is warranted.

None declared.
None declared.
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