Ticks Tested for Free at ESU Lab

STROUD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- James Harkness from Stroudsburg enjoys taking his dog Brody for a walk at Brodhead Creek Park in Stroud Township.

But this time of year, he's watching out for ticks, especially since he already has Lyme Disease from a tick bite he got a few years ago.

"It's destroyed a lot of my body. Skeletal, muscular skeletal," said Harkness.

A new resource might help people catch the disease sooner.

Pennsylvania residents can now bring or mail ticks to be tested for free at East Stroudsburg University's Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab.

Daniel Conaty from Stroudsburg was dropping off a tick he found on his stomach.

"I was thrilled because I thought I would have to mail it in and between the lag time of the mail and everything, maybe I'll be sick by the time that I found out. But the fact that I can come in, drop it off the next day and be received so pleasantly and everything, it's great," said Conaty.

The tick research lab is funded by state taxpayer money. It launched April 1.

If you find a tick, you'll need to fill out an online survey. You can either drop off or mail your tick and survey to the lab.

If you can't get to the lab to bring your tick in during business hours, you can do so 24/7 by dropping it off in the drop box outside, but just make sure you fill out that online survey first.

"The purpose of tick testing is to determine your exposure to a tick bite within three days of that tick bite. When you pull it off, you bring it into the lab or mail it in. Once we receive it, three days later you'll have your results on if you've been exposed to any diseases," said Nicole Chinnici, Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab director.

Lab directors say since the program launched, they have received more than 500 ticks from 65 different counties in the state.

The free testing also applies for ticks found on animals.

Click here for the tick testing survey.

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