The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents that several cases of swimmer’s itch have been reported at Birch Cove Beach in Dartmouth. Birch Cove Beach will remain open, but residents are advised to rinse well with water after using the lake. The presence of swimmer’s itch is not indicative of high bacteria levels in water.
Swimming lessons are cancelled at Birch Cove Beach for the remainder of the week, at which point all lessons are finished for the summer.
Swimmer’s itch is an allergic reaction caused by the bites of a microscopic parasite carried in bird waste and certain species of aquatic snail. The bites leave an itchy rash on affected parts of the body. While not dangerous on their own, bites can becomes infected if scratched and turned into open wounds. If contact is made with affected water, skin should be rinsed with clean water as soon as possible.
Birch Cove Beach is a supervised beach. Municipal staff regularly test the water quality at all supervised municipal beaches, as well as one unsupervised beach, during the summer months.
For more information on municipal beaches and outdoor pools across the Halifax region, please visit our beaches page.