Tick Testing Season is Back! We Need Your Ticks to Know the Risk of Tick-Borne Disease

Author: Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts

We reported early this tick season that tickreport.com was not accepting ticks for testing due to furloughs caused by the pandemic. Well, we have great news. Ticks are again being tested. The data set is not huge yet, but early numbers indicate plenty of tick-borne disease in our area. Now is not the time to throw caution to the wind. Brush up on your tick safety knowledge and avoid those tick bites.

Test Your Ticks

When you pull a tick off yourself, a child, a pet, or otherwise, sending it in for testing helps diagnose illness should you or a loved one fall ill. It also helps to inform the public of the incident of infection in the local tick population. While we should always avoid tick bites, if disease rates are higher, more people may take notice and be cautious. It is also a good way to catch a rise in tick disease not normally prevalent in our area.

Now is the time. There have not yet been a lot of ticks tested this season due to the closure. If you find a tick, please send it in. Just go to tickreport.com and follow the simple steps.

Deer Ticks in Massachusetts Carry High Levels of Disease

Are you afraid of sharks? I am, for sure. However, in reality, our chances of being bitten by a shark off the coast of Massachusetts is practically 0%. Or 1 in 3.75 million.

While we don’t have a good way to measure your chances of being bitten by a tick – as it is too frequent and often unreported, we can get a ballpark sense of your risk for disease from a tick bite. Out of deer ticks tested in the state of Massachusetts this year alone, 32% were carriers of Lyme disease. And a whopping 40% of deer ticks were carrying at least one pathogen. With only 608 deer ticks tested statewide so far, this is very much a preliminary estimate.

Out of the 608 deer ticks tested in the whole state of Massachusetts between May 1, 2021 – June 18, 2021:

  • 211 were carrying Borrelia general species
  • 198 were carrying Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme)
  • 48 were carrying anaplasma phagocytophilum, the pathogen that causes Anaplasmosis.
  • 40 were carrying babesia, the cause of Babesiosis.
  • About 9% of those 608 deer ticks were carrying two or more pathogens. Those ticks could indeed cause a co-infection which is much tricker for doctors to diagnose and treat.

Bottom line: avoid tick bites as if they were shark bites.

Avoiding Tick Bites Is the Best Method of Avoiding Tick Disease

With a variety of tick safety tips, the number one thing to remember is that avoiding tick bites is the best way to reduce your risk for tick disease. With a lovely summer season here in the Bay State, we don’t want you to lock yourself indoors. Follow tick safety protocol and when you’re at home, consider our professional tick control services. Call Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts today to request a free quote for tick control.