No matter how many times it happens, no one gets used to or appreciates the moment when they have to safely remove a tick from themselves, their child, or their pet. A necessary part of living in Massachusetts, a beautiful state that happens to be enjoyed by a large population of deer and deer ticks as well. While you may love the moment when you get to destroy the little bugger, you may want to reconsider your deer tick disposal methods.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Laboratory of Medical Zoology will test your tick for common pathogens associated with the species. We often suggest saving the tick in a baggy with the date on it, and in the case you become ill, you can send it in and learn within 3 days of the lab receiving it, if your illness could be related to a tick bite.
Every Plymouth Deer Tick Should Be Tested for Tick-Borne Disease
However, we have reconsidered our stance. With the newly available public tick-borne disease data provided by UMass, we can learn our local risk level based on the results of ticks sent in for testing. Testing your tick provides more data for everyone in our area, the more ticks tested, the more accurate the results are when measuring risk for tick-borne diseases.
Since testing began in 2006, 77 ticks from Plymouth zip codes have been tested for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the group of bacteria that cause Lyme disease). 22 of the 77 deer ticks tested positive. It would be a stretch to say that if a tick bites you in Plymouth, Mass you have a 28.57% chance of getting Lyme, as the data pool is too small to be very accurate. Imagine if every tick found was tested. We’d have a much truer sense of our local risk for Lyme disease.
When we check the results in other South Shore cities, we see a large spectrum of results and number of ticks tested:
- Middleborough: 8 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato to, 25% positive.
- Taunton: 10 ticks tested, 0 positive for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 0% positive.
- Wareham: 7 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 28.57% positive.
- Mattapoisett: 13 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 15.38% positive.
- Rochester: 37 ticks tested, 8 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 21.62% positive.
We urge all of the South Shore to send every tick you find into tickreport.com for testing. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows us through their surveillance of Lyme disease cases that Plymouth County is number two on the list for Massachusetts counties with the most confirmed cases of Lyme in 2014. With help from you and UMass Amherst tick testing, we can learn local risks down to the zip code for Lyme as well as rare tick-borne diseases such as Powassan, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.
Regardless of your exact risk, it is clear that Lyme disease remains at epidemic levels in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Avoiding tick bites is the number one way to prevent Lyme disease. Lower your risks at home with tick control treatment from Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass. With 85-90% reduction in ticks on your property, you can enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle without worry. Call today for a free quote.