The Cayuga County Health Department is still investigating what might have caused around 40 reported cases of itchy rashes contracted last week by swimmers in a northern part of Owasco Lake.
Most of the cases, according to the health department, involved individuals who were in the water south of the Deauville Island beach during the Great Race last Sunday, Aug. 14. Officials said Monday that the rashes do not appear to be caused by blue-green algae or cercarie, a parasite that causes swimmers to itch.
The health department collected water and snail samples from the area last Wednesday for evaluation at the state Department of Health's testing facility in Albany. Additional samples were sent to the lab Monday, health officials said.
Health officials are advising people to shower or dry their skin with a towel after swimming in the lake to reduce the chance of skin irritation. Swimmers are also encouraged to change out of their bathing suit as soon as possible.
Anyone with questions can call the health department's environmental health division at (315) 253-1560 or visit the health department website at cayugacounty.us/health.