***Tick Surveillance Program Update from UK Entomology:***

You may have recently heard about a tick surveillance program through the Kentucky Department of Entomology. We have received an overwhelming number of ticks sent to us for identification and analysis! We do need to set the record straight about the process and what we are looking for.

Some basics-
1. This project is only for citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; we are not collecting specimens from any other state. Out of state submissions will not be opened.
2. Please do not mail in live ticks. Please do not mail liquid alcohol. Please do not just put a dead tick in a paper envelope.
3. You must completely fill out the form at this link for the tick to be analyzed. Samples with incomplete forms will not be included in the survey. https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/.../tick_submission...
4. There is a list of instructions on how to mail the ticks safely and effectively at this link https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ticksurveillance2022

Further information we want to share is that this project is teamed by one person. It SHOULD NOT be considered a replacement for consultation with a physician or for a paid-for-pathogen testing service. We ARE NOT offering a full suite of pathogen testing, only three pathogens (Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) are being analyzed for and the data is only being used to construct maps of pathogen distribution in Kentucky. You should not rely on us or this service for a rapid response that will inform any medical decisions you might make. If you were bitten by a tick and feel unwell YOU NEED TO SEE A PHYSICIAN.

Please do not wait for a response from this tick surveillance program to make health decisions!


For those folks who have already submitted samples:

  1. Dr. Palli has said that only people who have a tick test positive will receive a notification. Ticks that test negative will result in no notification. He has also said that ticks rejected for improper submission will receive no notification. If they do receive notice, it would come in the form of an email from TicKSurvey@uky.edu
  2. He has not indicated that agents involved will receive notification. His preference was for clients to submit their ticks on their own, rather than go through their local office.
  3. It could be up to 2-3 months before people would receive any sort of notification. Our mailroom currently received 150-200 ticks daily. I have tried to stress to folks that this is not a free medical service, they should not be submitting these ticks in the hopes of getting speedy info to make a medical decision. Dr. Palli says this was designed as a surveillance program, clients are voluntarily submitting a specimen as a citizen scientist to help further understanding of ticks in the state. The study is testing only for Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. No other pathogens are being tested for. Data they get from positive ticks will help the tick project and the Department of Public Health build maps that show people where possible pathogen hotspots may be.


If you have questions, please speak to Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent Traci Johnson at 502-222-9453.

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