Tick Identification – Surveillance
|Test Requested||Required Requisition(s)||Specimen Type||Minimum Volume||Collection Kit|
Sterile, leak proof, polypropylene container
Submission and Collection Notes
There is no kit available for tick identification. Submit the tick specimen in a sterile, leak proof, polypropylene container. Do not use bags or envelopes.
Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
PHO laboratory does not perform tick identification from ticks collected from non-human sources.
Preparation Prior to Transport
Place specimen in a sealed container and close tightly. To avoid separation between the specimen container and the Surveillance Form, ensure both are placed in a sealed outer package such as a sealable bag.
Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)
Turnaround time is up to 3 weeks, though during peak season it may be delayed. NML TAT for PCR for detection of various human pathogens such as Lyme disease is up to 6 months.
Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.
Tick species are identified by Microscopy
Ticks that are identified as blacklegged ticks, are referred to the National Microbiology Laboratory for testing by PCR for human pathogens causing zoonotic infections, such as Lyme Disease. The testing on all blacklegged ticks to is for surveillance purposes only.
As per Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) Guidelines for Lyme Disease, tick identification should not be used for diagnosis and management of Lyme Disease.