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  • Here, deer. Near the Narrow River in South County, RI, URI researchers fill a feeder that attracts but doesn't harm deer. From left, Ryan Russo, Leslie Leach, Michelle Lee and Nate Miller set the trap for deer ticks.

    The Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at the University of Rhode Island studies various aspects of Lyme disease, including epidemiology (the study of the incidence and control of disease), prevention and control strategies. Director Thomas Mather, PhD, and his team have been monitoring tick activity since 1993. Mather's research extends to elimination of ticks in the wild. "We're testing a strategy involving an innovative deer feeding station. Deer have to push their heads into the stand to get at the bait; we use corn. Rollers rub pesticides onto their heads and necks, killing the ticks, but not harming the deer."

    With many weapons in place against the tiny but tenacious tick, doctors and researchers are confident that Lyme disease is largely curable with no lasting symptoms for most people. Still, the best medical advice is: Stay away from ticks-especially the ones that are no bigger than a period (.)

    Here are some ways to steer clear