There is no better lab to be chosen for a nationwide tick-testing project than our very own University of Massachusetts of Amherst’s Laboratory of Medical Zoology. With the state of Massachusetts’ status as one of the top states for Lyme disease and ticks, we are ground zero for tick-borne diseases.
UMass was chosen by Battelle, which happens to be the world’s largest independent, non-profit research and development organization. UMass is charged with conducting pathogen tests on ticks collected from 47 sites across the country. The testing is a contribution to the National Science Foundation’s 30-year National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project.
Project NEON is a nationwide effort to collect standardized, calibrated, long-term ecological data which will be accessible to the scientific community through a data portal. NEON will be a fantastic tool for tick-borne disease research and surveillance with the addition of pathogen testing, which will begin in 2018.
The Amherst Lab has tested on average 6,000 ticks per year since 2006. When a person knows what pathogen a tick was carrying, they can provide those test results to their doctor for quicker diagnosis should they become infected with a tick-borne disease. The goal has previously been primarily public health, but with NEON, the UMass lab will be tracking ecological information in a comprehensive way for future use. They’ll eventually have the ability to track tick population and tick-borne disease trends over many decades.
UMass Amherst earned a two-year contract for $112,000 per year for testing thousands of ticks for six different bacterial and one protozoan pathogen. They will use DNA-based assays for conducting these tests.
While we look forward to the continuous growth of knowledge about ticks and tick-borne disease, we hope you’ll protect yourself and your loved ones with tick control for your yard. It only takes one tick bite from an infected tick to cause a potentially disruptive health problem. Call Mosquito Squad of Fall River today to get a free quote for tick control on your property.