UMass lab to offer reduced-cost testing of ticks for disease

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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst is home to a laboratory that tests ticks from around the country, but a local program called Tick Report partners with cities and towns to subsidize the costs of tick testing.

The town pays $1,500 and up to 100 residents can pay just $15 to get a tick tested. Normally it’s a $50 fee.

The laboratory catalogs each tick under a microscope, grinds it up into a powder, and then tests the DNA for disease. They guarantee results in 5 days, but it can be done as quickly as 1 day.

The Northeast is an area where diseased ticks are common. Experts say it has a lot to do with deer.

Stephen Rich, Director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, told 22News, “More deer means more ticks and more ticks mean more disease. You have basically up to 24 hours in the case of Lyme disease to pull the tick off and prevent exposure. It takes a while for the tick to become attached and actually transmit pathogens.”

Tim Daly, Laboratory Assistant, said, “People should just be aware that there is more than just Lyme disease out there and we have test for pretty much everything.

They stress that if your tick tests positive for a disease, it doesn’t mean you have it, just that you’ve been exposed. Talk to your doctor.

Check yourself for ticks after being outside and Click Here to find out more about the tick tests.

Check for ticks in the hard to reach areas of your body. Behind your ears, along your hairline, and between your toes.

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