Ticks, Lyme Disease and Schroon Lake

Schroon Lake has been chosen as one of three towns in the southern Adirondacks for researchers to study the tick population, according to a report by NCPR

Ticks cause Lyme disease, which is spread by the bacteria in deer ticks. Its effects can be devastating – causing damage to the skin, the nervous center, heart and joints of the body. It is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the US.

"I think what we need is the infectious disease equivalent of the Manhattan Project," said Tim Sellati, a Trudeau Institute research scientist who specializes in tick-borne diseases, told NCPR news.

Scientists believe the tick population is heading north into the southern section of the ADK Park.

"The way I envision this would be to have a center here at the Trudeau Institute that reaches out to the state Department of Health, the local hospital infrastructure, Paul Smith's College and whoever else can help us tackle this issue," Sellati said.

"It's too serious a problem for one individual, one person's skill set to try and significantly impact public health."

Another scientist, Melissa Prusinski, a research scientist with the state Health Department, says climate change is playing a role in the expansion of the deer tick's geographic range, as well as that of the small mammals like the white-footed mouse that carry the Lyme disease bacteria. 

The two other towns in the study are Queensbury and Black Brook.

There’s much more detail in the story by NCPR reporter Chris Knight, which you can read and listen to here.