Cercarial Dermatitis Transmitted by Exotic Marine Snail
Published Date:Sep 2010
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 16(9):1357-1365.
Communicable Diseases, Emerging
RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
RNA, Ribosomal, 28S
San Francisco Bay
Skin Diseases, Parasitic
Description:Cercarial dermatitis (swimmer's itch) is caused by the penetration of human skin by cercariae of schistosome parasites that develop in and are released from snail hosts. Cercarial dermatitis is frequently acquired in freshwater habitats, and less commonly in marine or estuarine waters. To investigate reports of a dermatitis outbreak in San Francisco Bay, California, we surveyed local snails for schistosome infections during 2005-2008. We found schistosomes only in Haminoea japonica, an Asian snail first reported in San Francisco Bay in 1999. Genetic markers place this schistosome within a large clade of avian schistosomes, but do not match any species for which there are genetic data. It is the second known schistosome species to cause dermatitis in western North American coastal waters; these species are transmitted by exotic snails. Introduction of exotic hosts can support unexpected emergence of an unknown parasite with serious medical or veterinary implications.
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