The Monroe County Health Department Environmental Health Division assists individuals that are concerned about the ticks that were found on them, a family member or the family pet. While the staff at Monroe County Health Department are able to reasonably ascertain the name of the tick by comparing the tick to photos of known species, testing is not available onsite. When sampling for disease is a concern, the staff at Monroe County Health Department will mail the tick into the lab at the Michigan Department of Agriculture. If the tick arrives alive and was taken from a human, the lab can test it for Lyme disease. If the tick was removed from a host other than a human, the lab will identify the tick for a fee of $10.00 and screen the tick for Lyme disease (if alive) for a fee of $40.00. If the tick arrives dead, which quite often happens, the lab can only confirm the identity of the tick.
Disease from ticks is preventable. Following precautions when outside, especially in overgrown or wooded areas, you can minimize your risk of developing a disease. The most common ways to prevent disease include: wearing light clothes so you can see if a tick is on you and remove it before it embeds itself, using DEET or other tick repellant, checking your whole body, especially areas with hair such as the groin, head, sock line, under arms after being in an area that may contain ticks (if a tick is found, remove it by pulling it straight out with fine tweezers grabbing the tick at the skin surface), and tucking your pants into your socks and sealing off any other openings on your clothing such as sleeves and neckline.
Should you develop a disease from a tick bite, getting treatment early is necessary. Go to see your physician immediately if you have been in recent contact with ticks, especially if one or more were attached to you, and you start to experience any symptoms that may be associated with tick diseases, such as: fever, chills, headaches, muscle and/or joint pain, bulls eye rash, petechial rash on the hands, malaise, myalgia, ulcerative lesion at point of contact, lymph node swelling, pneumonia, nausea/vomiting, coughing, confusion, diarrhea.
Please see the State of Michigan site for information about the ticks normally found in Michigan. The following pictures are the five most common in Michigan:
Deer Tick/Black Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) Woodchuck Tick (Ixodes cookei)
Winter Tick (Dermacentor albipictus)