How To Get A Tick Tested
Ticks can be tested dead or alive . If you have removed a tick and want to have it tested, you have two options:
- Store it on a damp paper towel or cotton swab in a sealed plastic vial or ziploc bag.
- Securely attach the tick with tape to a piece of paper.
If the tick is already dead, there is no need to keep it moist. DO NOT store the tick in alcohol as it may compromise the test results.
You may choose to save the tick for testing should you begin to experience symptoms, rather than have it tested immediately.
DO note the date and location of the tick bite. If possible you should record:
- Location where tick attached
- Location on body where tick was removed
- Any other details about physical symptoms or location where tick was encountered
Access To Lyme Disease Testing Services
This guidance on the laboratory diagnosis of Lyme disease is intended for healthcare professionals in the UK. Patients concerned about possible Lyme infection should consult an appropriate healthcare professional, for example their GP, in the first instance.
Health professionals wishing to discuss a possible case or ascertain local arrangements for testing should contact a local Infection specialist .
NHS testing for Lyme disease is available through local service providers and the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at UK Health Security Agency Porton where ISO15189 accredited confirmatory testing is also provided. RIPL also provides a testing service for neurological Lyme disease.
RIPL provides medical and laboratory specialist services to the NHS and other healthcare providers, covering advice and diagnosis of a wide range of unusual bacterial and viral infections, including Lyme disease.
RIPL continuously updates its methods and will make further information on Lyme disease diagnostic testing available as it arises.
How To Remove A Tick Safely
Although the risk of Lyme disease is very low in Alberta, there are other tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted by ticks.
It is important to properly remove a tick as soon as possible. Removing a tick 24 to 36 hours after a tick bite usually prevents Lyme disease from developing.
If a tick is attached to your skin, you can safely remove it.
- Using tweezers, gently grasp its head and mouth parts as close to your skin as possible to avoid leaving mouthparts in the skin or crushing the tick.
- Without squeezing the tick, slowly pull the tick straight up off the skin do not jerk or twist it.
- Do not apply matches, cigarettes, dish soap, petroleum jelly or any other substance to the tick. This will not encourage the tick to detach and may cause it to release infectious blood back into the wound.
- Once the tick has been removed, clean the bite area with soap and water and disinfect the area with an antiseptic. Wash hands with soap and water.
- Consider submitting a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program.
- If you do not plan to submit a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program, you can kill the tick by placing it in a freezer for 24 hours, or putting it in rubbing alcohol. Once killed, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet, or placing it in the garbage. Avoid crushing a tick with your fingers as they may be filled with blood and other infectious material.
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Serological Testing Of Serum For The Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
The most commonly used tests look for antibodies to the Borrelia species that cause Lyme disease in the UK and Europe, but they also detect infections from strains of Borrelia from the US.
The antibody response takes several weeks to reach a detectable level, so antibody tests in the first few weeks of infection may be negative. If the first sample was taken within 4 weeks from the start of symptoms and is negative and there is a clinical suspicion of Lyme disease, then retesting in 4 to 6 weeks may be useful.
It is very rare for patients to have negative antibody tests in longstanding infections. Borrelia antibodies persist indefinitely in some patients and this does not indicate continuing disease or a need for re-treatment.
Serological testing for Lyme disease in the UK and much of the world follows a two-step approach using commonly available antibody screening tests as a first stage, followed by immuno-blotting of samples that give positive or indeterminate results in the screening tests.
Sensitive screening tests are used at the first stage of testing but have the disadvantage of occasionally detecting other diseases and producing false positive results. RIPL uses the C6 Lyme ELISA for screening
Samples giving positive or indeterminate preliminary screening test results are then tested in a more specific system to confirm the presence of Borrelia-specific antibodies. RIPL uses the Borrelia ViraChipÂ® IgG, IgM test for this purpose
Submit A Tick Photo For Identification
You can submit photographs of ticks for rapid photo identification through the eTick website or using the eTick app.
- Download the eTick app on or the Apple Store
How to submit a tick photo to eTick:
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Where Are Ticks In Toronto Located
Blacklegged ticks are found most often in forests and overgrown areas between wooded areas and open spaces. This makes for perfect breeding grounds in many parts of Toronto. Specifically,
- The Rouge Valley, east of Toronto
- Don Valley trail system
The Public Health Agency of Canada works with provincial authorities to identify where populations of infected blacklegged ticks have been established or are spreading.
This is the latest Ontario Lyme Disease Map from Public Health Ontario:
More information can be found here:
In other parts of Ontario, known endemic areas for Lyme disease are:
- Point Pelee National Park
Expansion areas of risk in Ontario include:
- Kingston and surrounding areas along Lake Ontario
- Along the St. Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec and northeast towards Ottawa
- Northwestern Ontario in the Lake of the Woods region
- Pinery Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron
For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca/LymeDisease
Laboratory Testing Of Ticks For Surveillance
Only ticks that have been requested to be submitted to the lab following photo identification through eTick will be accepted for testing at the lab. This ensures the best use of laboratory services. Most ticks found in Alberta are not the type that can transmit Lyme disease.
Note that Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health and Indigenous Services Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch offices are not accepting tick submissions.
If you are asked to submit your tick to the Alberta Public Health Laboratory through eTick, complete and print the Tick Testing Request form that must accompany your tick to the lab . Submitting a tick to the lab when requested is optional. By submitting the tick when requested, you are helping Alberta Health to monitor for ticks of public health concern in Alberta.
Members of the public can drop off their completed Tick Testing Request form and tick specimen at a local lab location, or send it by mail.
Collection, shipping instructions, drop off locations and mailing address are provided on the Tick Testing Request form as well as below:
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What Are The Chances Of A Dog Getting Lyme Disease From A Tick
How common is Lyme infection in dogs? The true prevalence of Lyme infections in dogs is unknown, but informal surveys and anecdotal reports from veterinary clinicians practicing in hot-spot Lyme areas indicate that between 10-60% of dogs not vaccinated for Lyme may test positive for Borrelia burgdorferi.
Borrelia Species Pcr Results
Borrelia species DNA may occasionally be detected in the blood by PCR, but a negative PCR test is of no value in excluding localised Lyme disease.
The overall sensitivity of PCR on a skin biopsy of an EM or ACA rash is around 50% and is limited by the chance of a single biopsy hitting a site with a significant number of organisms.
In neurological Lyme disease involving the CNS, up to 10% of cases may be PCR positive on a CSF sample a negative PCR result does not exclude the diagnosis.
Synovial fluid may be positive by PCR in up to 50% of cases. A negative result does not exclude the diagnosis.
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What Do My Test Results Mean
If both tests come back positive, that means you have had Lyme disease at some point in time.
If either or both of your tests come back negative, your doctor may still diagnose Lyme disease, particularly if you recently developed Lyme-like symptoms, regardless of your test results. But, if your doctor does not diagnose you with Lyme disease, you can ask to be re-tested in a few weeks. If you do have Lyme disease, your body may build up sufficient antibodies by that point to be detected by a blood test.
Two-step blood testing for later stages of Lyme disease is more accurate than for early infection because your body should have had sufficient time to produce the antibodies detected by diagnostic tests.
Interpreting the Western blot test
The Western blot test looks at whether you have an immune response the production of IgM or IgG antibodies to specific proteins on the Lyme disease bacteria. IgM antibodies are usually made by your body when the infection is new and recent, while IgG antibodies are usually made some weeks later. When the IgM or IgG antibodies combine with specific proteins from the Lyme disease bacteria, this produces dark spots, or bands on the Western blot test strip.
The CDC considers a Western blot test to be positive for Lyme disease if at least two of three IgM bands are positive within 30 days of symptom onset, or five of 10 IgG bands are positive at any time.
If your Western blot test comes back negative, ask your doctor:
What If My Cats Gets Bitten By A Tick
If you remove a tick from your cat, we recommend taking your pet to the vet so the doctor can run a blood test looking for the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacterium. The veterinarian will may prescribe an antibiotic, and pets treated immediately have a better chance of recovery than those that receive delayed treatment.
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What Do The Results Mean
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are common to many conditions, and test results alone can’t diagnose the disease. To make a diagnosis, your provider will consider your test results along with your medical history, exposure, and symptoms. You may also need other tests.
A negative blood test result means that antibodies to fight the Lyme disease bacteria were not found in your blood. If you had symptoms for longer than 30 days before your test, you probably don’t have Lyme disease.
But if you had symptoms for less than 30 days before you gave your blood sample, you may need to have another Lyme disease test. That’s because it may take a few weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to show up on a test. If your test was done too soon, you could be infected even though your test was negative. This is called a “false negative.”
A positive blood test result means that antibodies to fight the Lyme disease bacteria were found in your blood. In this case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a second blood test on the same blood sample. If the second test is positive and you have symptoms of infection, you probably have Lyme disease.
But positive test results don’t always mean that Lyme disease is causing your symptoms. You could have antibodies from a past case of Lyme disease that your body successfully fought off months or even years ago.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
Investigation Of Suspected Lyme Disease
Erythema migrans is a clinical diagnosis and does not require confirmation by laboratory testing. Lyme disease is not a notifiable disease so there is no statutory requirement to notify clinically suspected cases to the local Health Protection Team.
The 2018 NICE Lyme disease guideline provides detailed advice about when a diagnosis of Lyme disease should be suspected and about which tests to use and when.
The NICE Lyme disease guideline also contains a useful summary diagram of the routine serological testing recommendations for Lyme disease.
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Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease can be made clinically or in conjunction with laboratory test results. When the skin rash is typical and when a patient has been exposed to an environment where blacklegged ticks are known to be established, the diagnosis can be made on clinical grounds alone. In parts of Canada where adventitious, unestablished populations of blacklegged or western blacklegged ticks have been noted, a clinical diagnosis is more challenging. When the rash is atypical or occurs in circumstances in which exposure to the appropriate vector tick species was unlikely, diagnosis is based on the demonstration of a serological response to B burgdorferi. Immunoglobulin M antibodies are usually detectable within weeks of the onset of symptoms however, a significant proportion of patients with EM may not have detectable antibody at the time of initial presentation . Furthermore, when patients are treated very early in the course of illness, antibodies may not develop. When an initial antibody determination is negative, it is suggested that a second serum specimen be collected four weeks later.
Current evidence suggests that commercially available enzyme immunoassays used for the purpose of screening are sufficiently sensitive .
Antigen detection has also been used in both spinal fluid and urine. As with NAT, antigen tests cannot be recommended unless their sensitivity and specificity significantly improve .
How Will Pregnancy Affect Treatment For Lyme Disease
Early treatment of Lyme disease during pregnancy is important. Thats because if Lyme disease is left untreated, it can affect the placenta. According to the CDC , transmission of Lyme disease from mother to fetus is possible, though rare.
For pregnant people, treatment includes a round of antibiotics. Certain treatments for Lyme disease may not be used, as they can affect the fetus. If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, talk with a healthcare professional immediately.
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How Can I Protect My Cat From Lyme Disease
There is no vaccine for Lyme disease, so contracting it is always dangerous. Luckily, ticks dont seem that interested in cats, but if you live in an area known to contain ticks, a pet-safe insecticide can help drive them off. A flea-and-tick collar can also help keep the pests away. You should always brush your cat when they come in from outside and look them over to remove any bugs. However, the best prevention is to keep your cat indoors, where there is little risk that they will encounter a tick that can spread the disease.
Will My Dog Be Ok After A Tick Bite
In most cases, veterinarians agree that you do not need to take your dog to the vet after a tick bite, but you should always monitor your dog for any signs of infection as well as for symptomssuch as fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness, swollen joints, or swollen lymph nodesof Lyme disease for the next Jun 3, 2021.
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What Do Testing Kits Typically Include
Depending on the method of collection, testing kits may include:
- a device to collect the blood, urine, or saliva sample
- a container to ship the sample back to the lab
- a shipping label
Some kits come with a bandage, wipes, and a biohazard bag. Kits may contain extras such as Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes with varying solutions inside.
List Of Lyme Disease Tests
Below are five Lyme disease tests a person can find online.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
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What Testing Do We Offer
We offer three options for having your ticks tested. For each of these options, we will first identify the submitted tick, and ensure the testing is appropriate for that species. The three options are:
- Cost: $50.00 CAD
- Description: Ticks will be tested for the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and tick-borne relapsing fever. These bacteria include:
- General Borrelia
- Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto or Borrelia lonestari
- Borrelia miyamotoi .
- Common Infections
- Cost: $150.00 CAD
- Description: Ticks will be tested for the seven most common tick-borne pathogens found in their species.
- For black-legged ticks, these pathogens include:
- General Borrelia
- Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto
- Borrelia miyamotoi
- Anaplasma phagocytophilum
- Babesia microti
- Cost: $300.00 CAD
- Description: Ticks will be tested for all the currently detectable pathogens at Geneticks. These pathogens include:
- General Borrelia
- Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto or Borrelia lonestari
- Borrelia miyamotoi
- Anaplasma phagocytophilum
- Babesia microti
- Francisella tularensis
- Rickettsia rickettsii
**Expedited testing ensures that your tick testing results are returned to you within 48 hours of receiving your tick at our laboratory. This 48 hour period applies to business days only.