Tick Control Awareness Day, June 3

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Numerous events planned: URI entomologists launching website, organizing workshops, displays, discounts

KINGSTON, R.I. — May 25, 2006 — Rhode Islanders can learn how to control ticks in their yards, prevent tick bites, protect their pets from ticks, and even receive discounts on tick-bite prevention products at an extensive series of events planned in recognition of the state’s first Tick Control Awareness Day on Saturday, June 3.

“With Lyme disease an ever increasing hazard in Rhode Island and deer ticks spreading northward throughout the region, I was pleased that Governor Carcieri proclaimed June 3rd Tick Control Awareness Day,” said University of Rhode Island Entomology Professor Thomas Mather, director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease, who is coordinating tick control events around the state with URI tick researcher Nate Miller.

“There is great awareness about Lyme disease, but until now there has been no coordinated effort to educate people about how to control ticks and prevent tick bites,” Mather added. “Disease prevention has been largely over-looked.”

According to a recent survey conducted by the Center, 85 percent of Rhode Islanders believe it is possible to prevent tick-borne diseases, but less than 10 percent report using appropriate strategies to prevent tick bites.

Keynote activities June 3 will be tick control workshops at Goddard Park in East Greenwich beginning at 11 a.m. and at a residential site on the north end of Jamestown at 3 p.m. where Miller, Mather and other experts will demonstrate how best to eradicate ticks from backyards and prevent tick bites. Also at Goddard Park, doctors will provide information about what to do if a tick bites you, veterinarians will address questions about protecting pets from ticks, and entomologists will be available to identify ticks brought to the site by local residents.

Other activities planned for Tick Control Awareness Day include the following:

– National Park Service tick expert Howard Ginsberg will give a presentation on avoiding ticks and Lyme disease in the woods at Burlingame State Park (picnic pavilion) in Charlestown at 1 p.m.

– Cape Cod Cooperative Extension entomologist David Simser will discuss effective ways to kill ticks and protect your family, at Colt State Park in Bristol at 2 pm.

– Dick’s Sporting Goods in Smithfield and Warwick, Agway in Westerly, and Wildwood Outfitters in Wakefield will offer discounts on the purchase of tick repellent products, and Wildwood Outfitters will demonstrate the proper application of repellents at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

– Veterinarians Dave Serra of Wood River Animal Hospital in Richmond and Jack Civic and associates at the Newport Animal Hospital and its satellites (Jamestown Animal Clinic & Newport Animal Clinic) will offer educational materials and tips on protecting pets from tick bites.

In addition, just in time for Tick Control Awareness Day, Mather and Miller will launch the nation’s first website dedicated to tick bite prevention www.TickEncounter.org on May 26. The highly interactive site will provide users with detailed information about tick biology, strategies for controlling ticks, health tips, and other information useful to anyone going outside in areas where ticks are abundant.

For more information about Tick Control Awareness Day or any of the events scheduled, contact Mather or Miller at 401-874-2928.