• Tick bite? Get it tested to see if it's carrying Lyme disease, here's how

    By: Robert Goulston, Boston25News.com

    Updated:

    AMHERST, Mass. - Massachusetts state officials are predicting tens of thousands of people will likely get tickborne diseases this year. Now, a state university is offering tick testing for $15 with results available in three days.

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    The Laboratory of Medical Zoology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is offering tick testing, and the ticks are being sent in by the hundreds. 

    "Yeah, they'll start crawling around. They can survive for weeks without anything. We get a lot of live ones," lab technician Tim Daly said.

    "People mail us ticks from all around the country, especially here in Massachusetts," he said.

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    The program has been in place since 2005 and, at first, cost $140 for a tick test, but a federal grant has lowered the price to $15 per tick.

    "We use the DNA to detect the pathogens that makes us sick inside the tick," said director Dr. Stephen Rich. 

    The state estimates some 87,000 people a year test positive for Lyme disease in Massachusetts alone.

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    "Half the adult deer ticks around here are infected with Lyme," Daly said. 

    The UMass tick report program is sharing the information with health officials to help track trends. People who were bitten and send the ticks in for testing also get the information directly. 

    "We can get you the results in 24 to 72 hours about the risk of that tick bite," Rich said.

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    Rich also said the tick that bit him while he was walking his dog tested positive for disease, including Lyme. With this information, his doctor ordered specific tests and was able to give him the all clear.

    "I think the most crucial part is we have a 3 day turnaround time. So by the time you booked your doctor appointment, you may have your results," said Rich. 

    To learn more about how to send UMass Amherst a tick to be tested, click here

    >> Related: Ticks now spreading to urban areas, expert warns

    NOTE: The prices on the website list packages of $50/$100/$200. Once you start your order and add your address, the price will drop to $15.

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