Tick Identification and Testing Services
The Pennsylvania Department of Health does not offer tick identification or tick testing. While testing ticks can provide useful information about which pathogens the tick may carry, there are some issues that should be considered.
- Positive results from a tick or ticks attached to a person does not necessarily mean that the person bitten was exposed to the pathogen, likewise negative results from a tick does not mean the person was not exposed to any tickborne pathogen.
- Studies have shown that very few people with tickborne illnesses recall being bitten by a tick indicating people may not see the tick that bit them and caused an illness.
- It is possible to be bitten by a tick carrying a disease and not be infected with that disease, depending on many factors, including how long the tick was attached to you.
If you choose to have a tick tested, it is important to remember:
- Tick testing results may produce a false positive or a false negative result. Therefore, even if you receive a negative result, you should still monitor yourself for the appearance of rash, fever or other signs and symptoms and immediately seek the advice of a health care provider if they occur.
- If someone has been infected by a tick bite, signs and symptoms may occur even before the results of tick testing are available. You should not wait for tick testing results before seeking medical advice if you feel sick.
- A positive test on a tick does not necessarily mean treatment is needed or that you will get sick. A positive test indicates that the tick was infected with a pathogen, but the tick may not have passed the pathogen to the person bitten. Any positive test results should be discussed with your health care provider who will work with you to determine the best course of action based on:
- Your likelihood of an exposure to a tick-borne disease;
- When the tick bite occurred;
- The presence or absence of signs or symptoms; and
- Other factors relative to your particular situation.
- Tick testing does provide general information about risk to individuals and populations exposed to ticks in particular geographic areas. This information can indicate areas of greater concern for tickborne diseases.
Tick Identification and Testing Locations
The following organizations, listed alphabetically, do offer tick identification and/or testing services. Most have a fee associated with the testing service. The listing of these organizations does not constitute an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an organization, or its information, products, or services provided, and none should be inferred. This list may not be comprehensive and the contact and price information may change at any time. The information was up-to-date as of October 2021. Any questions people have about situations that may affect their health should be directed to their health care provider.
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
61 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3203
Storrs, CT 06269-3203
Cost: $55-125/tick for species identification and testing for up to 4 different bacteria that can be carried by ticks. $15 for tick species identification only. Results are available in 3-5 business days after receipt of tick. Rush service is available for an additional $25.
One Action Place, Suite 102
Acton, MA 01720
Cost: $42-85 for up to 5 pathogens and tick identification, $5 for tick species identification only. Results are available in 48 hours.
320 Needham St., Suite 200
Newton, MA 02464
Cost: $100-200/tick for species identification and testing for between 3 and 10 diseases
East Stroudsburg University Innovation Center
562 Independence Road
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
Cost: Free for PA residents, $100-200/ tick/ up to five ticks can be tested together at no additional cost. Identification and testing for up to 19 different possible diseases.
University of Rhode Island
Cost: Free tick identification only through emailed photo
University of Massachusetts Laboratory of Medical Zoology
101 Fernald Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Cost: $50-200/tick for species identification and testing for up to 19 different possible diseases carried by ticks. Results are available within 3 business days following receipt of tick. In addition, tick testing results, but not personal contact information, are shared through the Tick-Borne Disease Network Passive Surveillance Database to share information about where infected ticks are being found.