Tick Population, And Danger Of Lyme Disease, Up In RI

Jul 6, 2012

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PROVIDENCE, RI – These pesky bloodsuckers thrive in the kind of warm, humid weather June brought. So they're living large right now throughout the Ocean State. University of Rhode Island entomologist and tick expert Dr. Thomas Mather has been monitoring the tick population for nearly two decades.

"We had, in some cases, a 1000% increase over what we had seen previously at some sites on the East Bay. Why that happened? I'm not really sure," says Mather. But he says consistently warm and humid days in June are partly to blame.

Ticks can carry infectious diseases like Lyme, of course. And it's deer ticks of a particular age--about the size of a poppy seed--that most often pose a danger to humans.

"One in four of them will be infected with something that can make you sick, even kill you," said Mather.

The key, Mather says, is to check yourself for ticks, especially below the waist, everyday. And to spray a good tick repellant both over and under your clothes. If you think you've been bitten by an infected tick, see your doctor. Symptoms of Lyme Disease and similar infections are often flu-like.

Learn more about protecting yourself from ticks on this educational site from the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center: http://www.tickencounter.org/

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