Cambridge News reports: Swimmers are being forced out of the River Cam after being “attacked” by parasitic mites that have spread rapidly in the water due to the warm weather.
The parasitic duck mite appears in the River Cam at this time of year and can cause a condition known as ‘swimmer’s itch’ (or cercarial dermatitis).
Ted Hunt is the treasurer of the Newnham Riverbank Club. He said the mites always appeared at this time of year. This year is worse than normal, he said, because of the heat.
“It is quite a well-documented thing,” said Mr Hunt. “It is also called swimmer’s itch. It happens every year. It is a little flat worm that has to find a duck to continue its life cycle. Unfortunately, if people are in the water, it goes to them as well.
“I have been swimming here for 40 years. This year, the river got warm quite quickly, and that has brought them on.” Mr Hunt said there were practical things people could do to avoid being bitten, including getting a sun tan.
“If you give yourself a good rub down with a towel when you get out instead of drip drying, that seems to get rid of them,” he said. “There are two or three heads in the water right now. People are enjoying themselves. It tends to be people who are very pale they are attracted to, so getting a tan might help.
“In terms of aftercare, people could rub themselves over with aloe-vera. Hopefully, it will die down a bit in the next week.”