Tick Test From Medical View - Letter

You report that Lawrence J. Dapsis, county entomologist and deer tick project coordinator at the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, recommended that if people find embedded ticks, that they send the tick to a state lab to be tested for tick-borne infections. While this may be helpful from a public health perspective, it is not recommended from a medical one.

Any person who has had one known tick bite is at risk for having had another, undetected tick bite. If the bit person became ill with an illness that could be a tick-borne infection, and the detected tick tested negative for infection, that information would be of no help.

Likewise, if an embedded tick tested positive for an infectious disease, but the bit person developed no symptoms of infection, then he would need no treatment.

James D. Sullivan MD
Scraggy Neck Road
Cataumet

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