Young people immerse themselves in Chickawaukie Lake in Rockland to escape the heat, July 14, 2006. Rockland officials closed the swimming area on Monday after receiving reports of swimmer's itch, a condition caused by parasites. Credit: Leanne M. Robichea

A popular swimming area in Rockland reopened Tuesday after closing on Monday because of a reported outbreak of swimmer’s itch.

City officials reopened the swimming area at Chickawaukie Pond Tuesday afternoon after test results deemed the water safe for swimming, according to City Manager Tom Luttrell.

The Rockland Wastewater Department will continue to conduct testing on a weekly basis for the remainder of the summer, Luttrell said.

A YMCA day camp held at the lake reported that some participants had come down with swimmer’s itch.

Swimmer’s itch is a temporary skin infection caused by an allergic reaction to parasites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The parasites are released from infected snails into fresh or saltwater. The parasites’ preferred hosts are birds or other mammals, but if they come in contact with a swimmer, they will burrow into the skin causing an allergic reaction and rash.

Humans are not a suitable host for the parasites, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, so they die off after penetrating the skin. Itching can be mild or severe and last several days.

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