A University of Rhode Island researcher is warning of an "exceptional crisis" to public health after finding a record number of tick nymphs in the state.
Thomas Mather directs the university's Center for Vector-Borne Disease. He says high humidity in early summer is contributing to the higher numbers. Mather has collected date on ticks in Rhode Island for 20 years and says this summer's survey found a "shocking" number of young ticks.
Individuals bitten by ticks can become infected with Lyme disease, babesiosis and other diseases.
To avoid bites, Mather suggests that people check themselves for ticks, use anti-tick products on pets and apply tick-killing insecticide to yards.
Residents of South County should be vigilant of not only ticks this season, but mosquitos as well. In addition to Mather's recent tick findings, Department of Health and DEM officials announced Wednesday that test results from two mosquito pools from a trap set in the Great Swamp in West Kingston have been confirmed positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first time this year that EEE has been positively identified in Rhode Island and the fourth time for West Nile Virus.