Tick populations post alarming increase

By News Staff


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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Researchers are warning that the number of ticks in Rhode Island is skyrocketing, which could mean a greater risk that residents contract Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses.

Thomas Mather, a tick expert at the University of Rhode Island, says on Friday the number of deer ticks found in Rhode Island has increased by 80 percent increase since last year. The number is 142 percent above the previous 5-year average.

Researchers found the numbers particularly high in East Greenwich, Bristol, Tiverton and Johnston.

Mather says there was perfect tick weather in May and June, which were both humid, allowing ticks to thrive.

Mather will join federal and local tick experts Monday at the state Department of Health to discuss Lyme disease at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.