Thanks to everyone who sent us their ticks!
Your tick is among the 16,000 ticks that were part of the first national citizen-scientist tick study, published in PLOS ONE. Not only did you help find ticks capable of carrying Lyme disease in 83 U.S. counties where they were previously undocumented, but there were other surprising findings. Read our press release to learn more.
Free Tick Testing Program On Hold
Due to the overwhelming response of our Citizen Science Tick Testing project, we are suspending this program until further notice. This will give the lab at Northern Arizona University time to process and notify those people who have sent in ticks and who have been waiting beyond the estimated time we expected. We are currently looking at a backlog of over 1000 ticks from the fall of 2017. The lab at NAU had planned to test 2000 ticks in 2017 and received over 16,000.
We thank you for being part of this impactful Citizen Science project, and we’re looking forward to publishing the nationwide results from 2016–2017 very soon.
About Free Tick Testing
Bay Area Lyme Tick Testing Team with Dr Nate Nieto (right)
Tick testing is highly accurate—we used qPCR DNA based tests following column based extractions that are very specific and sensitive—however, no test is 100% definitive due to sampling error, extraction error, and qPCR error. While our test is very good, it cannot be 100%.
Different ticks in the US carry different types of pathogens. Depending on the species of tick, we may have performed up to six tests for up to six different pathogens most likely to cause disease in mammals (including humans, dogs, horses, etc.)
These are the six pathogens that we tested for:
- Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease
- Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes tick-borne relapsing fever
- Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes anaplasmosis
- Babesia microti, which causes Babesiosis
- Ehrlichia chafeensis, which causes human monocytic erhlichiosis
- Rickettsia rickettsii, the agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted FeverTicks will be tested based on known incidence of these pathogens. For example, the Western Blacklegged tick will be tested for four pathogens whereas the American Dog tick will be tested for all six pathogens. For more information about disease-causing pathogens harbored by ticks in the US, please visit the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/
Current diagnostic tools for Lyme and other tick-borne infections may give false negatives, so it’s important to be aware of your own physical health and seek continuing advice if you start to feel ill. Alternatively, some tests will give false positives, something you should also be aware of. See list of possible symptoms
Thank you—your participation has helped us gather a lot of ticks, a lot of data, and hopefully lead us to reaching our goal of making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure!