Local scientists try to protect us from tick-borne diseases

Want to make yourself sick? Go on the Internet and search for close-up photos of ticks. We had to do that to find a public-domain image to go with Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight’s story Friday. The way they burrow into the skin and suck blood is truly revolting.

That’s one good reason to be grateful for cold Adirondack winters, which have so far spared us from the scourge of Lyme disease and other illnesses spread by ticks, which have beset other parts of New York and southern New England. Unfortunately, it’s moving this way, due in part to our climate getting warmer.

Therefore, we’re grateful to Trudeau Institute, Paul Smith’s College, Adirondack Health and the New York State Department of Health for collaborating on an ambitious research project that seeks to fill a major scientific gap: Despite Lyme’s severe impact the northeastern United States, there has been no center for studying it and other tick-borne diseases.

If the Park is, as feared, a “leading edge” for tick-borne disease, we want our best scientists – medical and environmental – to be on top of it, to protect us as much as possible.

And they are.