Swimmer's Itch ~ Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Control Program

Until recently the only option available to lake associations and government agencies was to treat lakes with large quantities of copper sulfate, a chemical that indiscriminately kills a wide variety of plant and animal species, including the snails which harbor the itch-causing parasites.

Concerned with the potential negative long-term environmental effects of using copper sulfate, SICON, LLC. developed an alternative control program which has been used successfully on several lakes in Michigan and Maine since 1991 (Journal of Parasitology 87(2): 424-426). Their control program involves capturing and treating infected ducks with the same drug that veterinarians use to kill dog and cat parasites. After treatmenet the ducks are released unharmed near the point of capture, but on a lake where the snail intermediate hosts are not present.

For more information on swimmer's itch contact:

Curtis L. Blankespoor
Calvin College Biology Department
123 DeVries Hall / 1726 Knollcrest Circle, SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546-4403

Ronald L. Reimink
Scientist, SICON, LLC
6906 48th Ave.
Hudsonville, Michigan 49426