Found a Tick on Yourself? How to Submit it for Testing and Identification

Click on your town to find contact information for your local municipal health department, as well as details they provided the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters on how to submit ticks for testing. 

Municipal health departments throughout Connecticut have different procedures for accepting ticks to identify and test for bacteria which can cause Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and other tick-borne illnesses. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters contacted every municipal health department in our state and collected their preferences for tick submissions.

The majority require ticks to be brought to them in person, while others will accept them through the mail. Many do not charge a fee to test or identify ticks, but some departments, such as the Torrington Area Health District and the Trumbull Health Department, charge fees ranging from $3 to $25 to process ticks.

For a $65 fee, the Greenwich Health Department offers an expedited testing service for ticks submitted from anywhere, although nearly every other health department we spoke with will only accept ticks from residents of the region they serve.

Most labs are willing to identify any ticks they receive as deer ticks, dog ticks, or the rare lone-star tick that was recently discovered in southwestern Connecticut. Testing for bacteria, however, is generally reserved for ticks which were found blood-engorged, which means they recently fed and may have transmitted bacteria.

Many of the ticks collected locally will eventually be forwarded to the state’s Tick Testing Program at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) by their municipal health department, but residents of some districts including North Haven, Monroe, and Brooklyn are asked to send ticks they find directly to CAES. The CAES primarily tests only deer ticks which are blood-engorged and does not charge a fee.

Earlier this year, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reported the CAES was inundated with tick submissions, resulting in long wait times for results. Dr. Goudarz Molaei, the Director of the Tick Testing Program at CAES, said submissions have slowed since late-July, although his team expects another spike in activity in October and November.

Check out the map for information on how to contact your local municipal health department. For information on the Tick Testing Program at CAES, click here.

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