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UMass Amherst will receive $10M to limit risk of diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes

This file photo shows a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. (Victoria Arocho/AP)
This file photo shows a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. (Victoria Arocho/AP)

The University of Massachusetts Amherst will receive $10 million over five years from the federal government to reduce the risk of diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes.

The award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will fund the New England Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases.

Researchers at UMass will collaborate with partners at universities in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine.

"We're trying to reduce the source in the wild to the extent we can and then tell people how to mitigate risk where they exist," said Stephen Rich, a UMass microbiology professor and executive director of the new initiative.

Rich said if a person finds a tick on themselves, they should remove it as quickly as possible.

"Ticks that transmit pathogens have to feed for a length of time in order for the germs that are inside the tick to come out," he said. "If you take the tick off, you've done a lot to reduce the risk."

Rich said people should also know not all ticks are capable of transmitting Lyme disease.


This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was first published by New England Public Media.

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