Researchers at Upstate Medical University collect CNY ticks for testing in a pilot study

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A team of researchers with Thangamani Lab at Upstate Medical University have begun a multi-year pilot project studying the ticks in the Central New York region.

They’re trying to figure out which species of ticks are in the area, what they’re carrying, and how those infections impact a person’s health and their treatment.

“The deer ticks, they transmit 7 different pathogens,” said lead researcher, Saravanan Thangamani. “Almost 60% of ticks collected in Onondaga County are positive for Borrelia burgdorferi. That is the agent for Lyme disease.”

Some of the ticks also carry infections like Powassan virus, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella.

One of the goals of this 3-5 year study is to understand what happens if a tick bites someone when it’s carrying more than one infection.

“Does it make the Lyme disease worse, does it make the Powassan worse, or it doesn’t do neither?” asks Thangamani.

Researchers are also trying to track down the ticks’ path. To do so, they’re asking anyone who gets bit by a tick to mail it in for free testing.

“Send us the zip code so we know which zip code has particular pathogen prevalence and then does it change over time,” said Thangamani.

To have a tick tested, put it in a zip-lock bag with a moist towelette with the following information:

  • The date
  • Location
  • If the tick was found on a human or pet
  • Your email

You can mail the tick to:

Thangamani Lab
505 Irving Avenue
Suite 4209
SUNY Center for Environmental Health and Medicine
SUNY Upstate Medical Center
Syracuse, NY 13210 

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