The warmer temperatures returning to much of the country are being greeted with open arms, but it’s also bringing some unwelcome visitors: ticks.
Technically arachnids, ticks can transmit diseases, most commonly anaplasmosis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
If you’re a Pennsylvania resident, and you’ve been bitten by a tick, you can now get the tick tested to see what, if anything, it was carrying.
East Stroudsburg University’s Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania will test ticks for 17 different tick-borne pathogens. You can get all the details here.
After sending in your tick, lab technicians there will use microscopy to ID the tick species, life stage and sex. The three-step testing can be finished in 72 hours. There are three tiers, including a free version that tests for the most common diseases, a $50 advanced panel and a $100 comprehensive diagnostic panel.
Depending upon the choice, testing includes the following diseases, the scientific name and the tick most associated with it:
- Lyme Disease — Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii — Blacklegged
- Tick-borne Relapsing Fever — Borrelia miyamotoi — Blacklegged
- Human Babesiosis — Babesia microti — Blacklegged
- Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis — Anaplasma phagocytophilum — Blacklegged
- Bartonellosis — Bartonella henselae — Blacklegged
- Mycoplasmosis — Mycoplasma fermentans — Blacklegged
- Deer Tick Fever — Powassan Virus Lineage II — Blacklegged
- Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness — Borrelia lonestari — Lonestar
- Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis — Ehrlichia chafffeensis — Lonestar and American Dog
- Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis — Ehrlichia ewingii — Lonestar and American Dog
- Tularemia — Francisella tularensis — Lonestar and American Dog
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever — Rickettsia amblyommii and Rickettsia rickettsia — Lonestar and American Dog
Focus on prevention
Proper preventative measures can limit your exposure to tick bites so you have fewer worries.
“I think the most important thing for folks to know is that if they find the tick on themselves, don’t panic,” Dr. Maliha Ilias, the Lyme Disease Research Program Officer in NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, told Medline Plus.
The best methods of prevention include:
- Wear light-colored clothes so you can see see if a tick is on you.
- Wear clothing that fully covers your arms and legs.
- Tuck your pants into your socks so that ticks can’t get in.
- Use an insect repellent. Sawyer’s Picaradin Insect Repellent is DEET-free and won’t harm your clothing or equipment. And Permethrin Clothing and Gear Spray actually kills ticks, mosquitoes, mites and more … and the treatment lasts up to six weeks or six washings of your clothes.
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