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The Gill Board of Health is excited to announce there is a new federal grant that will subsidize tick testing for Massachusetts residents. The goal of the program is to get a better idea of the prevalence of the 23 potentially disease-causing microorganisms that ticks can carry.
Any tick found attached to a human resident of Gill can be removed, stored in a plastic baggie, and submitted for testing.
For the first 1,000 ticks received by the UMASS Laboratory of Medical Zoology, the grant will lower the cost of a $100 test to $15. Then, for the next 1,500 ticks, the cost of the $50 test will be lowered to $15. (The $100 test is more comprehensive than the $50 test, but both versions will tell you whether your tick tested positve for Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Babesisosis, or Ehrlichiosis. Both tests will NOT tell you whether you have contracted these diseases, but will allow you to be better informed when working with your medical doctor.)
The federal funding will subsidize tick testing for all residents of Massachusetts. Once the federal funding is no longer available, the Gill Board of Health will be sponsoring a limited number of tick tests. The resident's cost for one of these tests will be $15.
To learn more about tick identification, visit www.tickencounter.org or search for "Tickborne Diseases" at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's website www.mass.gov/eohhs/.
An FAQ about the Tick Testing Program is available here: Tick Testing Program FAQ
Information about Tick Prevention, Testing, and Removal is here: Prevention/Testing/Removal
A fact sheet about Permethrin (an effective tick repellant) is here: Permethrin Fact Sheet