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SICON LLC reports on 2016 swimmer's itch research program

During the summer of 2016, CLWA contracted with SICON LLC to implement a multi-faceted pilot program of swimmer's itch research and assessment on Crystal Lake. In September they submitted a report to the CLWA on their season's work, which includes several important conclusions:

  • Avian Schistosome Species Assessment

          Only one species of snail (Stagnicola emarginata) harbors the SI parasite. The primary waterfowl carrying SI parasites is the common merganser.

  • Whole-Lake Snail Infection Rate Assessment

          The severity of SI presence, as reflected in the infected snails, is generally low in comparison to other northwest Michigan inland lakes for which data exists. However, the ten sites around the lake that were sampled varied widely in the severity of their snail infection rate. The factors that determine this variability have not yet been identified.

The full report is available here. Additional results from lab analyses of cercariae and lake water are expected in the coming weeks.

SICON LLC, led by Dr. Curt Blankespoor from the University of Michigan and Ron Reimink, a biologist, is an organization that carries out research on swimmer’s itch and conducts control programs on inland lakes. It has previously provided effective swimmer's itch control programs for Glen and Higgins lakes. SICON’s website includes information on swimmer’s itch and control methods and provides a system for reporting SI cases.

CLWA is now evaluating the results of SICON’s 2016 program to decide whether it should be expanded into a broader control program during the summer of 2017.

Map showing sites where SICON collected snail samples.