"Published : Friday, 21 Sep 2012, 4:56 PM EDT
By Pete Mangione (WPRI)
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) -- Local researchers are concerned that you may be seeing a lot more deer ticks this coming fall.
Just in time for autumn, these male and female adult deer ticks could be out in record numbers. They're coming-out party is usually in October after the first frost, when most people have their guard down.
URI tick expert Thomas Mather is concerned because of the high number of nymphs he saw earlier this summer. Nymphs are ticks that have not yet reached adulthood." (Read full article on WPRI.com link below. Video interview will play in window to the left.)
Reported by: Nicole Estaphan
"It's summer, and that means it's tick season. The little bugs can pack a big punch if you're not careful.
'We are most concerned in Rhode Island about the nymphal stage deer tick. It transmits multiple diseases including Lyme Disease,' [Mather] said."
Reported by: Stephen Schuler
"Most popular in coastal Rhode Island and Washington County, babesiosis infections often can lead to moderate flu-like symptoms. But for senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems, the outcome can turn out a lot worse.
'It's life-threatening, it's expensive, recovery is considerably longer than with Lyme Disease.'
Mather says the number of babesiosis cases have more than doubled since 2004"
Reporting by Pete Mangione: "Now that the weather is getting colder, you may think you're safe from contracting Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks – but think again. Ticks can be just as dangerous in the fall and winter months.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Dr. Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island easily collected enough ticks to fill several test tubes, even after the first hard freeze of the season."
WJAR Channel 10 Health Check Reporter Barbara Morse Silva interviews Dr. Mather about the benefits of pre-treated clothes this month and throughout the summer.
[Mather said the problem is that ticks have a painless bite. Because they're so small, we don't always see them even when we're looking for them. So, some of the research is focusing on an anti-tick vaccine. "Maybe you would get signaled that as soon as the tick is biting you, you would start to itch shortly thereafter,"]
Lyme disease isn't the only tick-transmitted disease causing concern around the USA this summer. In a recent article published on FoxNews.com, URI TickEncounter Resource Center's Thomas Mather helps journalist Marrecca Fiore (URI '97, Journalism) explain the regional nature of tick-transmitted diseases and what to look out for if you are bitten by a tick.
The New York Times has a story in their "Room for Debate" blog discussing whether the tick problem is getting worse. Read commentary from : Thomas Mather, professor of public health entomology; Felicia Keesing, biology professor; Richard S. Ostfeld, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; William L. Krinsky, entomologist; Daniel E. Sonenshine, Old Dominion University.
By Andrew Rimas, Globe Correspondent Boston Globe
Blood-sucking insects weren't Tom Mather's earliest love. As an undergraduate in Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College, he started his academic life as a history major. But the future professor of Entomology at the University of Rhode Island (and unofficial tick guru of New England) was looking for a nobler calling. "My parents left me with the idea that you should do something good for the world," he said. "So, it became my role to prevent disease transmission through the bites of blood-sucking insects."