You’re washing the dishes in your kitchen. You feel something creeping across your neck. You place your hand to your skin and find the culprit—a tick!
Ticks come out in New Hampshire in the spring and can be worrisome because of potential diseases that they might carry.
Extension has teamed up with TickReportTM at the Laboratory of Medical Zoology of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which provides a professional tick testing service to public individuals and agencies seeking more information about the risk of dangerous pathogens.
How Does TickReportTM Work?
If you would like to know if a tick you have found is carrying pathogens, collect the tick (dead or alive) and place the tick inside a sealed package, preferably, a zipper lock bag.
If the tick is embedded into the skin, be sure to safely remove the tick using a tick spoon or tweezers to ensure the full head is extracted. Note: ticks can be stored for months (even years) under a variety of conditions and can still be tested.
Place the zipper lock bag in an envelope—preferably, a bubble mailer. There is no need to add any alcohol or preservative, but it is okay if you already have done so.
Fill out the TickReportTM form online with contact information, tick details and payment method.
Clearly label the bag and envelope with your name and five-digit TickReportTM order number.
Send your tick by mail to:
TickReport - Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ)
101 Fernald Hall, University of Massachusetts
270 Stockbridge Rd, Amherst, MA 01003
You will receive an e-mail upon receipt of your tick with some basic identification information like species, life stage, sex, feeding status and high-quality micrographs.
You will then be e-mailed a full report within three business days.
Data from your tick will help provide insights for the Tick-Borne Disease Network such as who is being bitten by ticks, when they get bitten and what pathogens those ticks are carrying.
The Laboratory of Medical Zoology is a not-for-profit, service lab at the University of Massachusetts. Fees for tick testing go towards costs for personnel, equipment and supplies. A core mission of the lab is to make this valuable public service available to the greatest number of people at the lowest cost possible.
The Standard DNA package includes tests for the most common tick pathogen. They identify the tick, photograph it (dorsal and ventral), assess its feeding condition and provide test results for presence of seven major pathogens including Borrelia (Lyme disease), Anaplasma (Anaplasmosis) and Babesia (Babesiosis). The tests applied will depend upon the species of tick you send. You do not need to know what species of tick you have; the lab will make that determination once they receive your tick. This report is $50.
They also offer a Standard DNA+RNA test package that includes tests for viruses such as Powassan and Heartland viruses. This report is $100.
If you are interested in more data, they offer a Comprehensive Package with 25 tests, regardless of species, for $200.
More information about packages can be found here.
Not a Medical Advice Service
It is important to know that this is not a medical advice service and these tests are not diagnostic of human disease. Transmission of a pathogen from the tick to you is dependent upon how long the tick had been feeding, and each pathogen has its own transmission time. TickReportTM is an excellent measure of exposure risk for that tick. You can print out and share your TickReportTM with your healthcare provider.