Massachusetts

Cost of mail-in tick testing at UMass slashed for MA residents

AMHERST, Mass. (WPRI) -- Mail a tick to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a team of experts will test it for diseases.

The TickReport team has been testing ticks since 2006.

It usually costs $50 - $200 to test a tick, but thanks to a $100,000 CDC grant, the cost is being slashed to just $15 for Massachusetts residents.

The process is simple: if you find a tick on yourself, a loved one, or a pet, just mail it to the lab in the basement of Fernald Hall at UMass Amherst.

"Take it off, put it in a plastic bag, a plastic zipping bag," said Dr. Stephen Rich, Director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology.

The technicians then extract the tick's DNA to test it for pathogens that make people sick.

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

Last year, the TickReport team tested 1,500 Massachusetts ticks in just the months of May and June.

They say, knowing right away that you've been bitten by an infected tick can help speed up the treatment process. The team sends you the results in 24 to 72 hours.

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

To learn more about the TickReport team, click here


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