Marshfield Clinic Research Institute asking public to submit ticks for research study

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Scientists at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) are asking the public to submit ticks for a research study called the Tick Inventory via Citizen Science (TICS).

“Ticks might be one of people’s least favorite creatures,” a release from Marshfield Clinic said. “If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, the first reaction may be to squish it or flush it down the toilet, but that tick could help researchers learn more about the parasitic arachnid and its potential to carry disease.”

The release said the study is surveying the distribution of tick species in the area, including any new, invasive ticks that may be moving into Wisconsin.

“Eventually, they will also identify the microbes carried by each tick, including pathogens that may cause diseases, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis, and non-pathogenic microbes that may contribute to a tick’s likelihood of carrying disease,” the release stated. “While we cannot return the pathogen information this year, we will use this information to design future studies for our findings.”

“Ticks are moving into new areas as the environment changes,” said Alexandra Linz, MCRI Associate Research Scientist. “This is an opportunity for Wisconsinites to act as citizen scientists and help us learn about ticks and their diseases, which can potentially help us better inform on disease prevention and early detection, as well as develop improved diagnostic tools and treatments.”

“The first phase of this survey targeted central Wisconsin,” the release stated. “Now researchers are asking citizen scientists from across Wisconsin to contribute.”

For more information, or to request a pre-paid collection kit, contact [email protected] or 1-715-389-7796 (extension 16462).

The release said parks and nature centers interested in having kits available for their visitors also are encouraged to contact MCRI.

“Once the tick, dead or alive, has been placed in the collection kit, just drop it in the mail to submit,” the release stated. “Any tick found on people or pets is appreciated. Each kit will come with a unique identification number that people can use to look up, via an online dashboard, the species of ticks they contributed.”

MCRI said it has long studied ticks and tick-borne diseases, including:

  • Improved and rapid diagnostic test evaluation in partnership with industry sponsors.
  • Examining and developing a deeper understanding of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
  • Evaluation of occupation risks for tick-borne illnesses.
  • Exploring changes in land use and its impact on the risk of tick-borne infection exposures.
  • Enrolling participants in a national effort to collect samples to improve early Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

“This tick research, like many research projects at MCRI, is funded through generous donor support,” the release stated.

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