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Tickborne Diseases (Lyme, Babesiosis and Human Anaplasmosis)

 Tick Testing Offered to Concord Residents at a Reduced Fee
The Concord Health Division is offering a new service to residents—if you are bitten by a tick, the tick may be submitted for testing for a reduced fee of $50  during 2014 to determine if it is carrying pathogens that cause Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis (HGA).  Tick testing will be performed by the Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) at the University of Massachusetts. 
If you find a tick biting you, carefully remove it using tweezers and place in a sealable plastic bag. Submitting a sample is easy: go to, complete a testing submittal form and receive a sample number, place the tick with sample number in an envelope and mail it to the LMZ address indicated on the form.  You will receive your results by email within 5 business days.  Test results can be shared with your physician, if you choose. The findings of the testing are maintained anonymously and help local and state agencies build a surveillance database to better inform public health disease prevention programs and track tick-borne disease.  For more infomation link here

Regional Tick Task Force

Staff members and residents from local Middlesex towns have been meeting since September 2012 to confront this serious regional public health issue and share ideas and resources regarding prevention of tick-borne diseases.  Known officially as the Middlesex Tick Task Force, representatives from Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln and Weston envision their mission as providing tick-borne disease education for their residents.  The groups’ goals are to increase awareness of tick-borne diseases in our towns, to educate residents about effective prevention measures, and to promote inter-town collaboration about these diseases in Middlesex County

The Massachusetts Lyme Disease Commision reports that "The scourge of Lyme disease in the Commonwealth has been described as having reached epidemic proportions and as endemic in all of Massachusetts. “Regions of particularly high incidence include Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as some areas in Norfolk, Middlesex, Essex, and southern Berkshire Counties.” Although annual reports through MDPH may fluctuate, the trend is not encouraging; the incidence of tick-borne disease (Lyme + co-infections) is on the rise, both numerically and geographically. Massachusetts ranks among the most highly endemic states, with incidence rates that placed it in second place in the nation in 2008. "

Read the full report here:Lyme Disease Commision Final Report

Tickborne Diseases and Our Community

There is a growing number of reported Tickborne Disease cases through out Massachusetts and New England.   Understanding The Ecosystem which supports tick populations is an important factor in avoiding disease transmission along with employing personal protective measures.

Ticks can be found in grassy fields, wooded areas, the edge of roadways/sidewalks as well as backyards.

Ticks thrive in shady humid areas with leaf litter and around stone walls.

Tick Encounters  can be a daily occurance
                Walking The Dog                 Working in the Yard                             Contact with Pets

Preventative measures should be observed year round with special attention taken May through October.  Protect yourself!

7 Easy Steps

1. Be aware of  tick endemic areas and keep to the middle of hiking trails and walk ways( Ticks thrive in shady humid areas with leaf litter and low brush).

2. The single most important thing you can do is check yourself for ticks daily.

3. Prompt removal of an embedded tick will greatly reduce the chances of the tick transmitting disease.  Use a pair of  pointed tweezers or tick removal tool.

5. Chemically-treated clothing (permethrin) and use of Deet on skin are two more tools that people should consider adding to their personal tick protection plans, in addition to frequent tick checks and proper tick removal.

6. Treat your pets. Perform a body scan of legs, belly and head after a walk to remove the ticks before they are brought into your home or car.  Apply a topical  tick repellant monthly.

7. Creat a yard environment unsuitable for ticks. Remove leaf litter and brush around your house, trim the lawn to 2" and keep shrubs, bushes and plants trimmed neatly.  Also consider using pyrethrin treated products like TickTubes to reduce mice populations and or have a licensed professional Pest Control Company perform perimiter spray of your yard.

Ticks in Your Yard: Here's What to Do!

Steps You Can Take

You don't have to be walking in the woods to be bitten by a tick. You can be in your own backyard!

Ticks like damp, shady, brushy, leafy areas, where they can wait for a person or an animal (like a deer or a mouse) to come by. The tick waits for direct contact with a passing person or animal.

Reducing ticks in your yard means making your yard less attractive to ticks, and less attractive to animals that carry ticks, like mice and deer.

Is your yard damp with shrubs and shade? Are there rotting leaves along fences, wood piles, or rock walls? If the answer is yes, your yard may be attractive to ticks and to animals that carry ticks like deer and mice. Reduce the number of ticks around your home by following these steps:

  • Keep grass cut short. Ticks are more likely to be found in taller, unmown grasses and shrubs, where they wait to attach to a passing person or animal.
  • Remove leaf litter and brush from around your home. "Leaf litter" refers to decomposing leaves where ticks can live, that can be raked up and removed.
  • Prune low lying bushes to let in more sunlight (keeps the yard from being so damp and shady, so ticks will be less attracted to the yard).
  • Keep wood piles and bird feeders off the ground and away from your home. This will make your yard less attractive to mice and other small rodents that can carry ticks.
  • Keep the plants around stone walls cut short
  • Use a three-foot-wide woodchip, mulch or gravel barrier where your lawn meets the woods. Ticks are less likely to cross the barrier into the lawn because they are prone to drying out. It also serves as a reminder that people who cross the barrier into the wooded area may be at higher risk of getting ticks.
  • Ask your local nursery about plants to use in your yard that do not attract deer. Deer can carry ticks into your yard.
  • Use deer fencing for yards 15 acres or more


A deer tick nymph(left) and female(right). Nymphs pose the greatest risk of disease transmission as they are very difficult to detect.

Read attached handout Tickborne Disease in our community

If you have been bitten by a tick and wish to have it tested to determine if it is a carrier for Lyme, Babesiosis or Anaplasmmois,(* note that this will not tell you if you have been infected)  
UMass Extension Tick Diagnostic Lab
Attn: Tick Assessment
Holdsworth Natural Resources Center, 160 Holdsworth Way
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9285
Use exact address to ensure delivery.
For specific information, contact: Dr. Craig Hollingsworth, (413) 545-1055

Please consult your physician for appropriate lab testing and medical treatment plans.

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