Once a tick has been removed, you should have it tested for tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Powassan/Deer Tick Virus. ECO Laboratory uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a test that detects the DNA of the causative agent (in this case, the tick-borne illness). This test is 100% accurate.
Equally important is having results quickly so that treatment can begin before symptoms arise. ECO Laboratory can provide you with results within 48 hours of receiving a specimen. You and your doctor can rely on the results to determine your risk and treatment plan within days, rather than weeks.
Without these results, the medical profession is divided on whether to treat based on a tick bite alone. In areas harboring large numbers of infected ticks, some doctors will immediately prescribe antibiotics to a tick-bite victim. Others will not, unless symptoms appear, on the grounds that frivolous use of antibiotics contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant microbes. It is important to note that each tick-borne illness responds differently to different antibiotics, meaning the most effective care should be tailored to the pathogen detected in your tick. This targeted approach prevents overuse of antibiotics and ensures the most beneficial forms of treatment immediately following exposure.
The PCR test can be done on live or dead ticks sent through the mail to our facility in Acton, Massachusetts. Since the test is done on the tick itself, no doctor’s order is necessary. Share the results you receive from ECO Laboratory with your physician so that you can ensure the most effective treatment plan.
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