Vector-borne diseases, like Lyme disease and West Nile, have been on the rise in recent years. When it comes to tick bites, we at Mosquito Squad suggest people remove ticks promptly and place them in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested. East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in Pennsylvania is taking it one step further and selling tick testing kits that people can get before a tick bite happens. Once bitten, the kit tells you how to remove the tick properly and offers to test the tick for you.
The testing kit, called Lyme-Aid, is now being sold online at http://www.lymeaidkit.com/. It sells for $5.99 and includes a tick remover, alcohol wipes, specimen bag and forms and preaddressed envelope to the ESU testing center. An additional fee of $39.95 is due for testing.
ESU researchers see this as a win-win for both the general public and East Stroudsburg University. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and sometimes the bacterium stays in the body for months before the patient displays any symptoms. With Lyme-Aid, a person can send a tick in for testing before any symptoms may present themselves. If the test comes back positive, the patient can decide whether or not to seek treatment from their doctor.
The benefit for ESU is not only to help the general public with efficient testing, but also with research. By receiving samples directly from the field, ESU can effectively study the spread of Lyme disease through testing deer ticks. They hope to get tick tests from across the country to gain more knowledge.
Melissa Shaw, co-founder of Lyme-Aid explains that it’s “main purpose is to educate the community about the disease. It was developed with the collaboration of about 20 students over a two-year period.” Source.
2012 brought a rise in the number of ticks this spring and an increase in the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases. This year was the first time that I, my husband and my dog all had ticks on us at one time or another and we don’t even spend time in places where ticks harbor. At Mosquito Squad, we offer tick control through barrier sprays and tick tubes, but it doesn’t mean that you will never get a tick bite, especially if you spend time outdoors at athletic events, hiking and more. Lyme-Aid kits would be great to have handy just in case you find a tick on you. It’s a step towards being more proactive about Lyme.