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Mosquito, tick diseases/DNA ancestry tests

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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, May 25, 2018:

Summer-like temperatures are on the way soon and lots of rain this spring means Central Pennsylvania will see a large population of mosquitos, ticks and fleas.  Being bothered is one thing — getting sick is another.

The Centers for Disease Control reported earlier this month that diseases spread by mosquito, tick and flea bites tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016.  There were more than 640,000 cases of vector-borne diseases identified during that period.

Lyme Disease — spread by tick bites — increased the most.  But Zika and West Nile virus also were up due to mosquito bites.

On Friday’s Smart Talk, we’ll discuss the dangers presented by these pests and what can be done to reduce bites from them.

Appearing on the program are Tim Abbey, Penn State Extension Educator, Horticulture – Green Industry and Tom Smith, Mosquito Surveillance and Control Pesticide Education and Community and Citizen Engagement at Penn State.

Are you one of the millions of people who have submitted DNA to companies like or 23 and Me to get information on where your family came from or your ethnic background?  With aggressive marketing and advertising, more and more people are providing a saliva sample in a tube and sending it off only to find out a few weeks later whether they’ve always heard from relatives or what they suspected was true.  How accurate are the tests and what can we learn from them?

Joining us on Friday’s Smart Talk is Darvin Martin, analytical chemist who teaches classes on DNA tests Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s genealogy conference.

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