New Haven scientists busy testing ticks

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The phone is constantly ringing at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, and hundreds of envelopes are pouring into the lab containing ticks people found on themselves.

More ticks are popping up now, thanks to a warm winter.

Dr. Goudarz Molaei, a research scientist at the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases, said that means ticks are living longer.

“This extends the survival rate and increases the survival rate of ticks during harsh winter months,” he said.

ticks2 New Haven scientists busy testing ticks

Dr. Molaei added that 75 percent of people who contract Lyme Disease do so in their backyard.

“They are doing either some kind of play activity with children or they are doing some type of lawn work,” he said.

Experts are warning people of a deadly tick-borne disease called Powassan. The Powassan virus can be transmitted to humans within a few hours.

“There is no cure for that, and it is a nasty virus and a good percentage of cases it could lead to complication and death.”tick4 New Haven scientists busy testing ticks

At the lab, scientists are busy testing the ticks that come in by mail. They check to see if the tick is filled with blood. If it is that means it bit a person. A machine breaks up the tick and separates the DNA for testing on certain diseases.

Scientists are getting in so many ticks from locals it is taking up to three weeks to get results back. Dr. Molaei said a single tick could carry more than one disease. He added, “One tick could carry simultaneously more than one disease agent and sometimes up to three disease agent.”

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