Many Northern Michigan Inland Lakes are facing the challenge of dealing with the cercariae parasite, aka swimmer’s itch.  The medical term for the condition known as swimmer’s itch is cercariae dermatitis. A swimmer’s itch task force has been formed by the Townships and environmental groups at Higgins Lake.  Past efforts, including a $58,000 study funded by the Higgins Lake Foundation, have provided information on the cycle, but a method to break the cycle remains elusive. High usage and easy traffic access to Detroit and Lansing have resulted in placing Higgins Lake in the “front lines” position to pursue increased research on this troublesome parasite.

Last year, funding for scientific study was moved forward through the State Senate; however, due to budget conflicts it did not pass the House. Our research has confirmed that swimmers itch is known to cause a downturn in tourism and is having a negative impact on the economy in Northern Michigan resort locations. 

 The Higgins Lake task force is once again seeking help from the State for funding of scientific research that may result in breakthrough progress. Our initial information exchange with Lake Partners, Associations and Home Owners Groups in Northern Michigan has confirmed that this challenge is not unique to Higgins Lake. We ask that you provide documentation on how your lakes, tourism and economy are being impacted.  By responding to the survey below, you will help evaluate the need for scientific research to eradicate or help reduce this serious affliction.

 Swimmers’ Itch Survey

  •  Responder’s name and phone number:
  •  Lake and Organization Name and location:
  •  Has your Chamber of Commerce or Organization had complaints about
    Swimmers Itch?
  •  Has the S.I. problem worsened at your lake in recent years?
  •  Have visitors said they “will never return” due to Swimmers Itch?
  •  Has your organization featured any Swimmers Itch awareness efforts?
  •  Have any visitors reported medical attention was necessary for Swimmers
  •  Are preventative measures posted, advertised or promoted in any way?
     If so how?  Is a specific remedy recommended?
  •  Has your lake been treated in any way for Swimmers Itch?
  •  Who makes decisions for treatments on your lake? (Home Owners, lake
    management company, Associations)
  •  Would you support lethal merganser control?

 Additional comments:


To download a copy of the swimmer’s itch survey, click here

Send completed survey to the Higgins Lake Foundation by placing in the USPS Mail.

Mailing Address:

Higgins Lake Foundation
P.O. Box 753
Roscommon, MI 48653

or e-mail survey to

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