A recent report from the New York State Department of Health says over 50% of ticks found in Oneida, Herkimer, Onondaga and Otsego Counties carry Lyme disease. If you remove a tick should you have it tested?

The CDC says testing of ticks is not recommended because of the following:

  • Laboratories that conduct tick testing are not required to have the high standards of quality control used by clinical diagnostic laboratories. Results of tick testing should not be used for treatment decisions.
  • Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
  • Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
  • If you have been infected, you will probably develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. If you do become ill, you should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.

Keep in mind tick identification services is no longer available through the NYDepartment of Health. However, there is tick testing for Disease at Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Testing. They will accept ticks from the general public for diagnostic testing. They are strictly a testing laboratory, and you contact them with questions about testing services. For $100.00 you can have up to 6 ticks tested with proper PCR testing. Follow the link for the directions on sending the ticks to the following locations.

The Insect Diagnostic Lab of Cornell Cooperative Extension offers an ID service. For $25 an insect or related arthropod can be shipped to the lab, or you can email a photo for expert identification. For more info go to http://idl.entomology.cornell.edu/.

You can also use a tick testing service. Tick Check is a New York testing lab and will test ticks for a fee.

For more information visit the CDC.

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