IGeneX can test ticks using PCR. We can determine if the tick that bit a patient was positive for: Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease), Relapsing Fever Borrelia (including B. miyamotoi), Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and Rickettsia

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click here for the Tick Test Request Form.
  2. Follow the instructions on the form on how to send in the tick(s).
  3. Get test results 2-3 weeks after receipt of tick(s).

About the PCR Diagnostic Tests

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests detect the specific genetic material (DNA) of the pathogen. If a tick contains the specific pathogen, the test will give a positive result. If the tick does not contain the specific pathogen, the test will generate a negative result. The test will NOT indicate whether the tick has transmitted the pathogen causing the disease. This depends on the amount of pathogen it is carrying and how long it has fed.  A negative test result only suggests that the pathogen DNA was either very low and was beyond the detection limit or was not present. Therefore with a negative result, there is a very small chance that the tick would have transmitted the pathogen. 

How to Remove a Tick

There are several tick removal devices available on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick effectively.

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Tick Tests

The following are the type of tick tests that IGeneX offers. Click on the Test Names below for more information. Identify which test number you would like tested in the Tick Test Request Form.

Test # Test Name
140 Lyme Disease (B. burgdorferi)
571 Relapsing Fever (Relapsing Fever Borrelia)
689 Babesiosis (B. microti and/or B. duncani)
148 Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia and/or Anaplasma)
290 Bartonellosis ( B. henselae)
975 Rickettsiosis (Rickettsia)

Lyme Disease (B. burgdoferi)

Reference Range

Negative: B. burgdorferi DNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Multiplex PCR test is a 3 step amplified nucleic acid assay that detects Borrelia burgdorferi specific DNA sequences. The gene fragments are first selected with specific probes. Then, DNA is amplified in two independent PCR assays using different primers from the Osp A gene on a plasmid and flagellin. Lastly, the amplified products are detected by hybridizations to specific probes in a Southern Blot Assay. This test detects DNA from other species in the Borrelia Complex including: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia andersonii, and Borrelia garinii. The sample is considered positive if either the genomic or plasmid result is positive.

Special Instructions Ticks are NOT a clinical sample and will not be reimbursed by most insurance providers.

Relapsing Fever (Relapsing Fever Borrelia)

Reference Range

Negative: Relapsing Fever Borrelia DNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Relapsing Fever Borrelia group real-time PCR Assay is designed for qualitative detection of Relapsing Fever (RF) Borrelia group DNA in clinical samples. The RF group includes B. miyamotoi, B. hermsii, B. coriaceae, B. lonestari and B. anserine, etc. The assay detects RF Borrelia group genomic DNA and B. miyamotoi specific DNA.

Babesiosis  (B. microti and B. duncani)

Reference Range

  • B. microti: Negative, B. microti specific DNA not detected
  • B. duncani: Negative, B. duncani specific DNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Babesia microti/duncani PCR Screen is an assay that detects Babesia specific DNA (B. microti and/or B. duncani). Babesia rDNA fragments are hybrid-selected by probes, followed by PCR amplification of selected Babesia rDNA. PCR products are confirmed with Babesia specific probes in a Southern Blot Assay. The primers and probes used for the selection of Babesia rDNA fragments are designed from published small ribosomal RNA sequences.

Bartonellosis (B. henselae)

Reference Range

Negative – B. henselae rDNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Bartonella henselae PCR Tick Test is an assay that detects B. henselae specific DNA in an infected tick. B. henselae rDNA fragments are hybrid-selected by probes, followed by PCR amplification of selected B. henselae rDNA. PCR products are confirmed with B. henselae specific probes in a Southern Blot Assay. The primers and probes used for the selection of B. henselae rDNA fragments are designed from published small subunit ribosomal RNA sequences.

Ehrlichiosis  (Ehrlichia and Anaplasma)

Reference Range

Negative- Ehrlichia or Anaplasma DNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Ehrlichia PCR Tick Test is an assay that detects Ehrlichia and Anaplasma specific DNA. Ehrlichia and Anaplasma rDNA fragments are hybrid-selected by probes, followed by PCR amplification of selected Ehrlichia and Anaplasma rDNA. PCR products are tested with Ehrlichia and Anaplasma specific probes in a Southern Blot Assay.

Limitations

This test will also detect the Genus Anaplasma.

Rickettsiosis (Rickettsia)

Reference Range

Negative – Rickettsia DNA not detected

Clinical Significance

The Rickettsia PCR Tick Test is an assay that detects Rickettsia specific DNA. Rickettsia rDNA fragments are hybrid-selected by probes, followed by PCR amplification of selected Rickettsia rDNA. PCR products are detected with Rickettsia specific probes in a Southern Blot Assay.

Additional Information for All Tick Tests

Methodology: Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tick Test

Ordering Instructions:

  • Specimen: Tick
  • Minimum number: 1 tick
  • Container: Small plastic tube or bag
  • Collection and Shipping Instructions: See Tick Test Requisition Form

Rejection Criteria: Refer to general collection procedure.

Special Instructions:  Ticks are NOT a clinical sample and will not be reimbursed by most insurance providers.