Public Health Question
March 2019 (Updated March 2, 2022)
I found a tick on my child or myself. Where can I bring it for testing?
Ticks feed on the blood of animals, but will bite humans too. The three most common tick species in New Jersey are the black-legged or “deer tick”, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick. All three of which, are capable of transmitting serious and potentially fatal diseases. The most common tick-borne diseases in NJ are Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Babesiosis. Recently a more rare conditions, such as the Powassan Virus and Alpha-gal Syndrome have been found in NJ ticks. Signs and symptoms of a tick bite may include: skin rash, tiredness, fever, chills, headache, a stiff neck, muscle aches, joint pain, or dizziness. If any of these signs or symptoms develop, it is important to see a health care provider.
Removed ticks, either dead or alive, can be saved in any small sealed container such as a small tupperware or Ziplock bag. Attached ticks should not be removed with noxious chemicals or by burning since this can cause injury to the skin, and can increase the risk of transmission by causing the tick to expel disease-causing organisms into the body. Do not place ticks in tape since this can make identification and testing more difficult.
Submitting a Tick for Identification Only (not available for testing of disease)
The Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division (MCMCD) provides a Tick Identification service to residents. The service is only available to the residents of Monmouth County, free of charge. Ticks must be submitted in person at the MCMCD, located at 1901 Wayside Rd., Tinton Falls NJ 07724. The office can be reached via telephone at (732)-542-3630 from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. The tick identification report will include tick species, stage, and engorgement level. Results can help narrow down which disease an individual may have potentially been exposed to. In addition, this information may help an individual and their physician with diagnostic and treatment decisions. However, identification results are NOT DIAGNOSTIC of disease in humans or animals.
The Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division no longer provides Tick Testing services. There are currently six laboratories in NJ that provide tick testing for disease. Residents seeking tick testing services within New Jersey can contact any one of the New Jersey laboratories. Results from a lab test can identify if the tick contained a disease-causing organism. However, the only way to confirm if you have contracted a tick-borne disease is to monitor yourself for symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they occur.