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Rhode Island Researchers Get $2M For Tick Study

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A tick researcher at the University of Rhode Island will use $2 million in federal grant funding to study tick repellent clothing. Professor Tom Mather...

A tick researcher at the University of Rhode Island will use $2 million in federal grant funding to study tick repellent clothing. Professor Tom Mather plans to test garments that have been treated with a chemical called permethrin. If it’s effective, Mather said it could have serious public health benefits.

“Ticks up here transmit multiple diseases,” said Mather. “Lyme disease is of course what everyone hears about, but just as dangerous probably more dangerous are some of the infections that black legged ticks in our area carry.”

It’s been used for years by the military to keep insects away from troops.

Mather said the study involves long-lasting permethrin treatment for clothing. Utility and forestry workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will wear clothing treated with permethrin as part of the study. The researchers will monitor the effectiveness of the clothing, as well as chemical levels in the participants, over the next four years.

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URI Researcher Tom Mather holds vials full of ticks.
URI Researcher Tom Mather holds vials full of ticks.