Some Reasons Not To Test Ticks

1. Costs can be $400-$600 per tick to check for one or more vector borne diseases. The tests on the market have not been proven to be accurate or reliable. Human Lyme & tick borne disease tests have been proven to miss 74.9% of those who have Lyme disease. If human Lyme tests have a high failure rate, why would anyone expect tick testing would be any different?

2. The money it would cost to test a tick is better spent on treating humans after they are bitten. One tick testing lab had revenues of over 1/4 of a million dollars in just 3 years from testing ticks. (It's a money thing.)

3. People mistakenly tend to wait for tick test results to come back before they decide to take action. The time wasted (which could be over a month) allows disease causing organisms to disseminate throughout your body. The longer someone waits the more costly and difficult, if not impossible, Lyme disease is to adequately treat or cure.

4. Dangerous or deadly results can occur if there is a delay in treating someone with some of the suspected tick borne diseases. For example, spotted fevers, ehrilichiosis, anaplasmosis, etc. The best time to treat is immediately.

5. There are over 300 known species/strains of Borrelia and hundreds of other tick and vector borne diseases. A recent (2016) study on deer ticks determined they harbored over 91 different pathogens. Please see the list of diseases documented in just one state (FL) and compare them to the list of tests offered by labs.

6. Tests are not available for the majority of known tick borne disease causing organisms, and you may still be infected with another known or unknown species or strain even though test results are negative.

7. Even if a tick tests positive for a specific disease, there is no way to know if the tick has transmitted that disease to a human at the time they were bitten.

8. Negative tick test results can provide people with a false sense of security after a tick bite. This practice has allowed people to become ill at a future date and the possibility of tick borne infections are either not remembered or not considered due to the earlier false negative tests.

9. Typically, doctors familiar with Lyme and tick borne disease diagnoses and treatment will treat those at high risk without tick (or human) test results to rely on.

10. According to official medical guidelines used world wide (written by Dr. Joseph Burrascano, Jr.) the standard treatment for a tick bite is a course of antibiotics (doxycycline). Doxycycline is reported to be the most effective antibiotic (in the very early stages) for all but a few known tick borne diseases.

11. Insurers do not recognize the results of tick testing for reimbursing the cost of diagnosis or treatment.

12. Other considerations, such as the skill of lab personnel (unknown), lab contamination (unknown), undetected organisms in ticks (unknown), lack of specific tests, etc. should be taken into account before ticks are sent to labs for testing.

Possible Reasons to Test Ticks

1. Curiosity.

2. Testing is free and you don't plan to wait for the results to treat.

3. Results are to provide reliable researchers information to determine where infected ticks are located.

Last Update- March 2019

Lucy Barnes