Tick Research Center Hopes For More Funding

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa.  -- A tick is not something you want to find on your body. But since April, thousands of ticks, found on people from all over the state, have ended up at East Stroudsburg University's Tick Research Center.

For Pennsylvania residents, the lab tests the bugs free of charge for diseases.

"It's going great. We are just about at 4,000 ticks that we are testing. We are testing PA residents for four different diseases and we are finding that 51 percent of our ticks in Pennsylvania, across the state are infected," said Nicole Chinnici, ESU Tick Research Center Director.

The tick research lab is funded by state taxpayer money. A $500,000 grant helped get the free tick testing program started.

Nichole Chinnici runs the lab in Smithfield Township.

So far, ticks have tested positive for bacterial and viral diseases.

The center can only test about 4,000 more ticks before funding runs out.

"This is the first ever largest statewide study, so it's not only giving important information to the department, the DEP and the Department of Health but it's also giving us important information on what our residents are being exposed to and giving them early exposure information," said Chinnici.

Scientists here are hoping that the funding comes in because if not, come July 1, you'll have to start paying to get your ticks tested.

Basic testing starts at about $50.  Chinnici has high hopes the center will get more funding.

"We are suspecting a very good chance that we will have the funding again starting July 1, so we will be able to double the number," said Chinnici.

The center still has funding, so you're encouraged to keep sending in ticks.

You can either drop off or mail you tick and an online survey to the lab.  Click here for information.

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