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Science and Innovations

NAU Offers Free Tick Testing to Boost Disease Research


A new initiative at Northern Arizona University recruits the help of the public to map the spread of tick-borne diseases.

Microbiologist Nathan Nieto leads the initiative.  He says scientists will use the data to study the diversity of ticks, and the pathogens they carry.

“Individuals, citizens, can send us ticks from anywhere that have either bitten them or been crawling on them—questing—and they send them to us and then we extract DNA, and we test them for a series of different pathogens,” Nieto says.  

Those pathogens include the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick-borne relapsing fever.

Nieto plans to create a map of disease risk in North America, which physicians can use as a guide. The data also will improve models that predict how ticks move in response to climate change. 

For more information about the initiative and how to submit a tick for testing, see:

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