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New Video Game to Combat Lyme Disease

March 20, 2011- When the “red red robin comes bob-bob bobbin’ along,” how safe will your children be? March 20 heralds the return of spring and the increasing dangers related to tick-borne diseases. Birds and small mammals such as mice, voles, and squirrels are busily enjoying spring and bring poppyseed-sized ticks which can transmit Lyme disease into close proximity to your home.

Kids want to play outside, however, so you need to find ways to protect them. The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ – New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ) have partnered in that effort and created a prevention video TickLES (Tick Learning and Education for Schools) and an interactive video game (Tick Tacklers) for grades 4-8. The video and game will enable children to understand what a tick is and to recognize a tick attachment (bite), and children will learn what to do if bitten, the symptoms of Lyme, and prevention measures.

LDA President Pat Smith says “Children ages 5-14 are at the greatest risk of acquiring Lyme disease so we need to educate them to its dangers. Using the internet makes learning fun as kids race to catch the ticks and to hear the story of Jack’s camping trip and the “vampire” ticks. Parents can learn from it, too.”

“Learning should be fun for kids. It’s particularly important when it comes to learning about diseases” said program designer Concetta Polonsky, health educator at UMDNJ. “After watching the TickLES video and pretending to be a ‘Tick Tackler,’ children are equipped with the knowledge to help protect themselves from ticks and tick-borne diseases.”
Acting under the auspices of an Environmental Protection Agency grant, UMDNJ compiled an expert team to develop the material and make it kid friendly. LDA was a project collaborator and is hosting the video and game on its website (www.LymeDiseaseAssociation.org), free to all.

“TickLES” is a new addition to the Lyme in Kids & Schools section of the website, which offers a variety of educational materials for schools, parents and children including “How A Tick Can Make You Sick” powerpoint. The New Jersey-based national Lyme Disease Association, an all-volunteer national nonprofit, 501 (c) (3), dedicated to Lyme disease education, prevention, research, and patient support, is associated with 43 Lyme organizations nationwide, working together to make a difference for Lyme patients. LDA funded studies have been acknowledged in 22 scientific peer review journals. LDA also offers the LymeAid 4 Kids program for children without insurance coverage.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 6,000 students attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lyme Disease Association: Pat Smith 888 366 6611 Lymeliter@aol.com