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Officials: 'Duck itch' rumors at Lake Colby Beach unfounded

There have been no confirmed reports of a "duck itch" outbreak at the Lake Colby Beach.

That's according to officials with the village of Saranac Lake, which owns and operates the popular public beach.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake says the hospital has not seen any cases of duck itch this year.

Duck itch, also known as swimmer's itch, is a short-term immune reaction that often takes the form of a rash or a series of itchy bumps. It's caused by trematodes released into the water through feces from ducks or other waterfowl.

In years past, swimmers at Lake Colby Beach have suffered from the short-term affliction.

Some rumors have cropped up this summer that duck itch is back. But Joe Riccio, AMC's communications manager, says the hospital hasn't confirmed any reports so far.

"What it could be is contact dermatitis," he said. "In the summer time, obviously people have more skin exposed, therefore exposing themselves, whether it's swimming or lying in the grass, to various irritants, which can result in contact dermatitis. Really, to track it to something specific, it'd be really difficult to do."

Village Manager John Sweeney says staff hasn't received reports about swimmer's itch at Lake Colby Beach.

Further, he notes the beach just officially opened to the public June 21.

So for now, village officials say beachgoers have no reason to be concerned about enjoying the water at Lake Colby.

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