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Know the bug that bit you this tick season



Lyme disease is not the only tick-borne pathogen out there

Know the bug that bit you this tick season


Once considered a regional issue, tick season, which officially takes place between April and October, is now a national concern due to the migration of these insects and the frequency in which people travel and opt for outdoor adventures. Although Lyme disease is the most known tick-borne disease, it is not the only tick-borne pathogen out there, which is why
NJ Labs recommends testing for other tick-borne pathogens including: Rickettsiosis, a spotted fever, or Ehrlichiosis, a potential breathing and blood disorder.

“When it comes to finding ticks, people worry most about Lyme disease and as a result, the market focus is on promoting Lyme disease testing. However, other tick species carry different types of tick-borne pathogens that can be just as dangerous to your health,” said Sandra Lee, CEO of NJ Labs whose analytical testing lab offers tick collection testing kits under the name Tick SURE. “Our tick collection testing kit is designed to avoid expensive, in-person lab visits by giving broad-range, quick results at a reduced cost.”

Deer ticks are the only ticks that carry Lyme disease, however, there are many other tick species that can also cause virus-like symptoms including headaches, fever, fatigue, chills and muscle aches. If a tick has bitten you or your pet, Lee says you should make sure that the tick is tested for the most common tick-borne pathogens, in addition to Lyme disease, using a DNA-based method to test with a higher specificity.

READ MORE: Protect your family from tick bites and Lyme disease

“It’s important to know the bug that bit you,” says Lee. “This old adage is especially true when it comes to tick bites, because when you know the specific species of the bug that bit you, you can test for every tick-borne pathogen known to that species, not just Lyme disease. This way you are covering every possible compromised health issue.”

Tick SURE is a tick test and sample collection kit that can be purchased in advance as a precaution to finding a tick on you or your pet’s skin. It is a great addition to any first aid kit. Tick SURE includes tweezers, easy directions on how to remove a tick, safe packaging for the tick in a pre-paid, first-class envelope that is delivered to NJ Labs for full identification and testing. Once at the lab, the tick’s DNA is extracted to first identify the species, then tested for the different pathogens it may carry.

The known species of ticks in the United States that bite and transmit diseases in humans include:

If you find that a tick has bitten you or your pet, Lee recommends sending the tick, using the Tick SURE kit, to NJ Labs in addition to making an appointment with a doctor or veterinarian since symptoms do not always show up right away.

“A positive test just means that we detected the pathogen in the tick, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the disease,” says Lee. “Regardless of the tick test result, you should always consult your doctor. Walking into a doctor’s office armed with information about your tick will make your appointment that much more productive.”

Lab fees for walk-in testing can vary across the country, but can cost up to $200. In contrast, purchasing a Tick SURE kit in advance costs as little as $80. Plus having the test kit available during vacations or weekends, when doctor’s appointments are not readily available, can provide peace of mind, allowing those affected to take swift action. 

NJ Labs is an FDA, DEA registered and inspected, ISO (17025:2017) approved, CGMP certified laboratory that has provided tick-testing services for more than 15 years. To learn more about tick identification and testing, or to purchase a kit, go to: https://testticks.com. Tick SURE kits are also available at Walmart. To learn more about NJ Labs visit: https://njlabs.com.




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