The Distribution and Control of Schistosome Dermatitis in Wisconsin and Michigan

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  • Division of Water Itch Control, Michigan Stream Control Commission; Department of Hygiene and Public Health, University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, and Division of Water Itch Control, Michigan Stream Control Commission; School of Public Health, University of North Carolina

Schistosome dermatitis is caused by the accidental penetration of non-human schistosome cercariae into the skin of man. Since 1928 when this was first demonstrated by Cort it has been shown that seven North American species of schistosome cercariae will produce dermatitis. Only three, Cercaria stagnicolae, C. elvae and C. physellae have been found to be involved in natural outbreaks of dermatitis on bathing beaches. This seems to be due primarily to the habits of the intermediate and definitive hosts which in this case live and become infected in areas suitable for bathing. The other four species, Cercaria douthitti, C. elongata, C. tuckerensis and C. dermalestes, are found in swampy habitats and seldom come in contact with man. Under experimental conditions, however, they are capable of producing dermatitis. A great deal of work on the life cycles of these species has, as yet, yielded only meager results.

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