CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and GREENSBORO, N.C. — A pilot study conducted by researchers at The University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health reported March 29 that the incidence of tick attachments was reduced by 93 percent among workers wearing Insect Shield Repellent Apparel.
The report was published online March 11 in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
Tick-borne diseases are a significant concern for the millions of people who work or play outdoors in tick-infested areas. If not treated early, these diseases can lead to severe illness or death.
Over the past two decades, the incidence of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever has increased. The UNC study sought to determine the effectiveness of Insect Shield-treated clothing for tick bite prevention among outdoor workers from the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (NCDWQ).
Sixteen employees from the Wetlands and Permitting Unit of the (NCDWQ) were selected for the pilot study because of the high number of work-related tick bites in previous years. Nine employees chose to wear Insect Shield clothing. Seven wore untreated clothes and continued their previous efforts to repel ticks including the use of spray repellents and other measures.
The study, conducted from March through September, showed that the Insect Shield group experienced 99 percent fewer tick attachments during work hours and 93 percent fewer tick attachments overall.
On this basis, UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University were awarded a four-year grant from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to confirm the effectiveness of treated clothing in a rigorously controlled study. More than 120 study subjects — employees from North Carolina Forestry, Parks and Recreation, and Wildlife divisions who primarily work outside, were randomly assigned to wear treated or untreated uniforms for two tick seasons. During this period, neither participants nor investigators know who is wearing which type of uniform. All are being carefully monitored for tick bites and tick-borne illnesses.
“Insect Shield is proud to partner with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health on these important research projects,” said Richard Lane, president of Insect Shield in a a press release. “We expect that the large study will corroborate the pilot study and further confirm that these treatments prevent serious tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.”
Patent-pending Insect Shield technology provides long-lasting, effective and invisible protection against insects. In addition to ticks, Insect Shield apparel products repel mosquitoes, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges (no-see-ums) through 70 launderings.
The Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina was established in 1939. UNC’s public health school aims to improve public health, promote individual well-being, and eliminate health disparities across North Carolina and around the world. Exceptional teaching, ground-breaking research and dedicated service have resulted in the School’s being ranked the top public school of public health in the nation, and number two among all schools, public and private (U.S. News and World Report, 2012 edition.)
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