Lycoming College Lyme Symposium helps Williamsport community stay safe as area experiences increase in ticks

Lycoming College Lyme Symposium helps Williamsport community stay safe as area experiences increase in ticks

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As Lycoming College launches this fall’s Lyme Symposium to help residents stay healthy while the area continues to see a rise in the local tick population, it announces a talk by “The TickGuy,” Thomas Mather, Ph.D., who will present “Ten things everyone needs to know about ticks these days,” and “Five TickSmartTM actions.” The presentation, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in Heim G-11 on the Lycoming College campus, is free and open to the public.

The Lycoming College Lyme Symposium is supported in part by the Frederick E. and Ann A. Blumer Endowment Fund.

Mather, director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease & TickEncounter Resource Center in Kingston, R.I., will educate attendees on practices to help remain safe from ticks and disease free with an “edu-taining” presentation. Mather educates on how to live a healthy lifestyle while tick populations are on the rise, as well as personal protection strategies and tick bit management best practices.

“Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. People who are not diagnosed in the earlier stages of Lyme often face chronic health issues, but prevention is perhaps the best way to manage Lyme,” reports Michelle Briggs, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Lycoming College and Lyme Symposium chair. “The symposium will address various facets of Lyme, including important prevention strategies.”

Often referred to as the “TickGuy,” Mather is professor of public health entomology and zoonotic diseases at the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include the ecology of blood-sucking arthropods and the dynamics of tick-transmitted diseases. He has raised more than $17 million to support tick-borne disease research and outreach, published more than 110 papers on the subject, edited one book and holds four U.S. Patents and two U.S. TradeMarks. For the past dozen years, a major focus of his laboratory has been developing a genes-to-vaccines strategy that’s stimulated by tick feeding and delivers broad-spectrum protection against tick-borne disease germs. More recently, his team is aggressively developing on-line and new media platforms for health promotion programs to increase tick literacy and prevent tick-borne diseases.

Throughout the fall season, the Lyme Symposium will feature additional speakers to present on topics that help to keep local residents safe as they continue engaging in outdoor activities, such as athletics and hunting. Drs. Harold Smith, M.D., and Francis M. Powers Jr., M.D., will discuss “Integrative Medicine Treatment for Lyme Disease;” Steve Winton, D.V.M. will present on pets and Lyme disease; and Dr. Brian Schwartz, M.D., M.S., will talk about “Lyme Disease: Epidemiologic & Clinical Overview; and Our Research.” Details of these events will be announced at a later date. More information is available at http://www.lycoming.edu/biology/lyme-symposium.aspx.

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