Health authorities warn bathers about swimming in lake south of Rome.
An increasing number of swimmers are experiencing skin problems in recent days after swimming in Lago Albano, the volcanic crater lake south of Rome.
Laboratory tests have traced the cause of the skin lesions to an outbreak of flatworms in the lake, a popular summer resort areas for Romans, according to a report in Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.
Authorities say that this particular variety of flatworm, a parasite that lives off freshwater snails, does not pose a health risk. However it is known to cause significant discomfort to those affected, particularly in the first 24 hours.
Those wishing to continue bathing in the lake have been advised to apply sunscreen liberally before swimming, followed by an immediate shower and removal of swimming costume.
Previously the flatworms were believed to be present only in Lago di Vico, a lake north of Rome, near Viterbo. Notices warning bathers have now been placed around Lago Albano, which is home to a number of towns including Castel Gandolfo with its papal retreat.
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