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Monday, December 3, 2012

URI tick program featured on NPR

From: Bradley Campbell, NPR Topics: Environment on ENN.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Progressive Charlestown features a permanent link to the URI anti-tick program. Look in the righthand column and click on Tickencounter, just below the weather report.

Most people try to avoid ticks. But not Tom Mather.

The University of Rhode Island researcher goes out of his way to find them.


He looks for deer ticks — poppy seed-sized skin burrowers — in the woods of southern Rhode Island. 

These are the teeny-tiny carriers of Lyme disease, an illness that can lead to symptoms ranging from nasty rashes to memory loss.

Mather's not having much trouble finding deer ticks. In fact, he just might be the best deer tick collector in the country. He caught 15,000 of them last year.

His success is a sign of a growing problem. Adult-sized deer ticks are thriving throughout much of the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.

Mather has a trim gray beard and a runner's build. He moves through the undergrowth with precision. He goes from one plant to another, sometimes plucking off ticks five at a time.

"You know. I can hold eight to 10 in my fingers and do it that way," Mather says. "If there is more than that, usually I will sort of touch the branch to my thigh and let the ticks crawl up on my leg and then I have a couple seconds to pick them before they start walking away."

Mather doesn't have to go into the deep woods to find ticks. A lot of times, he's practically in people's wooded backyards.

"People would be incredulous if they only knew," he says.

Article continues at NPR Topics: Environment

1 comment:

  1. In addition to Lyme Disease, the deer tick can transmit deadly Babesiosis, a protozoan, and Ehrlichiosis, a bacteria. Our outdoors have become so dangerous for children, that concerned parents in Connecticut have created teaching materials for their schools to educate their children about the danger of ticks.

    One of Rep. Dnna Walsh's annual crusades is to institute a lottery program, Scratch a Tick,that would provided income for Dr. Mather's URI Tick program. Unfortunately, the RI legislature has defeated this program.

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