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URI entomologist to test tick repellent by making volunteers squirm, Sept. 6 & 7

September 4, 2007

Each volunteer to spend 2 hours with 30 ticks crawling on skin

Tick Volunteers

WHO: University of Rhode Island tick expert Thomas Mather, director of the URI Center for Vector Borne Disease, and staff, along with 15 research volunteers (mostly URI students).

WHAT: Mather will test the effectiveness of a "clothing-only" tick repellent by dressing volunteers in summer clothing, including shorts and t-shirts, some of which have been treated with the repellent. Thirty ticks will be placed on the foot, arm and leg of each volunteer for two hours, during which time the volunteers will sit, stand, and walk in place to simulate time spent outdoors. At the end of the two-hour period, the ticks will be retrieved to determine how many died or dropped off the volunteers. All of the lab-raised ticks used in the study have been tested and determined to be pathogen-free.

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 6 and Friday, Sept. 7. Ticks will be placed on the volunteers at about 2:30 p.m. both days, and subjects will be check for attached ticks around 5:00.

WHERE: The atrium (Atrium 1) of the URI Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Rd., Kingston, R.I.

CONTACT: For information about covering this event, contact Todd McLeish in the URI Department of Communications & Marketing at 401-874-7892 or