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On Wednesday, swimmer’s itch advisory indicators appeared at Delaware bay entry factors. Swimmer’s itch is brought on by a parasite that burrows underneath the pores and skin and causes a rash. 9/29/17
Damian Giletto/The Information Journal

LEWES, Del. — Floyd “Morty” Morton was throwing a forged internet for bait fish 300 yards east of the Cape Henlopen State Park Fishing Pier final Friday when he felt an odd tingling at his ankles and feet.

When the veteran fisherman stepped out of Delaware Bay, there was a peculiar gnawing sensation below his knees.

The 49-year-old Morton rushed to his truck and wiped antiseptic solution on his hands and his feet. He then hurried home to Georgetown wash off whatever was irritating his skin.

“And I thought, ‘Oh God, please no,’ ” he said.

When red, itchy, pimple-like blisters appeared on his legs and feet the next morning, Morton knew – it was the third time he had contracted “swimmer’s itch.”

Known medically as cercarial dermatitis, swimmer’s itch appears when a microscopic parasite burrows under the skin, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A trip to the doctor on Tuesday confirmed his self diagnosis. Morton knew he would have to deal with the swelling, tingling and burning pain for 7 to 10 days.

He reached out to Delaware park officials, pleading with them to warn people about the possibility of parasites in the water.

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On Wednesday, swimmer’s itch advisory signs appeared at bay access points, Michael Globetti, of DNREC’s Office of the Secretary, wrote in an email Thursday.

The signs alerted swimmers and waders of the possibility of swimmer’s itch.

“After swimming or wading, towel off promptly and vigorously,” the sign cautioned.

The CDC also suggests to shower immediately after leaving shallow, still water near the shore. Those are the conditions in which the parasites leave their host mud snails, possibly in pursuit of sunlight, scientists say.

Symptoms can begin minutes — or days — after swimming in contaminated water. The CDC said all bathers are equally at risk if conditions are right for the parasites to leave their host, but it affects children more because they typically play in shallow water.

All reports of swimmer’s itch have been on the bay side near the state park area, with the…