CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Awards $2 Million Grant for Lyme Disease Study Utilizing Insect Shield® Technology

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Dr. Thomas Mather, University of Rhode Island (URI) Professor of Public Health Entomology and Dr. Steven Meshnick, Epidemiologist University of North Carolina (UNC), to lead the research team.

Lyme disease has become one of the fastest growing epidemics to date. The incidence of tick-borne disease throughout the country has doubled since 1991. Nationally, the CDC estimates about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed annually. According to the CDC, in 2014, 96% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states – one of which was Rhode Island. In response, the CDC’s NIOSH division, which works to prevent workplace illnesses and injuries, awarded a federal grant worth $2,039,000 to study Lyme disease prevention and exposure among outdoor workers. Throughout the next four years field studies will be conducted testing the effectiveness of long lasting permethrin-impregnated (LLPI) clothing treated with Insect Shield® Repellent Technology.

Dr. Thomas Mather, Director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and University of North Carolina (UNC) epidemiologist Dr. Steven Meshnick, will lead the team in researching whether long-lasting permethrin treatment is a viable strategy for reducing tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, among outdoor workers. The results of the investigation could help workers determine the best type of personal protective equipment and work practices to employ to protect against ticks and tick-borne illnesses. According to the CDC’s grant announcement: “If successful, the research could provide strong and much needed evidence that the long-lasting treatment of clothing with permethrin results in significant reductions in tick-borne diseases.”

A 2011 pilot study conducted by researchers at The University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health reported that the incidence of tick attachments was reduced by 93 percent (99% during working hours) among workers wearing Insect Shield Repellent Apparel. The report was published online March 11 in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.

“There just are more ticks in more places these days,” said Dr Thomas Mather. “Ticks and the infections they carry, like Lyme disease, are a largely unmet public health crisis. There is an urgent need for research on actionable prevention strategies that are easy for people at risk to adopt,” he added. “Safe and effective tick repellent clothing could make tick bite protection as easy as getting dressed in the morning,” Mather explained.

Unfortunately, tick-borne illnesses are not the only concern for outdoor enthusiasts. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, Dengue fever and West Nile virus are also prevalent throughout the globe. Newer concerns include the Zika and Chikungunya viruses which are also transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Bottom line, it is important to stay protected when enjoying the outdoors in the coming spring/summer months or when traveling to buggy locales.

Insect Shield Repellent Apparel and Gear continues to be put to the test by outdoor enthusiasts, the US Army and Marine Corps, and global health, forestry and oil workers as they travel and conduct work in disease-risk areas throughout the world. Recently the elite adventure racing team, Team Yoga Slackers protected themselves in ExOfficio BugsAway apparel with Insect Shield as they competed in the Adventure Racing World Championships in the Panthanal region of Brazil - known for intense bugs. Learn more about their epic adventure and protective gear courtesy of GearJunkie.

About Insect Shield® Technology:
Insect Shield Repellent Apparel and Gear are revolutionary products designed to provide long-lasting, effective and convenient personal insect protection. The durable protection provided by Insect Shield is the result of years of research and testing. In July 2003, Insect Shield Repellent Apparel was registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Insect Shield Technology is utilized by leading lifestyle brands, work wear distributors and International relief organizations across the globe to provide effective protection against insects and the diseases they can carry. Insect Shield is an approved vendor of the US Army and US Marine Corps.

Contact: Janine Robertson
Ph: 206 354-9093


Use of Insect Shield's, or any other company's equipment or products, for research purposes pursuant to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) ongoing grant to University of Rhode Island on Preventing Lyme Disease Exposure Among Outdoor Workers, does not imply endorsement on behalf of NIOSH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).