Missouri hunters urged to keep deer ticks, mail them to university

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ST. LOUIS — Scientists in Missouri are urging hunters to keep any ticks they may find on harvested deer and mail them in for a research study.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is working with A.T. Still University in Kirksville to determine where certain tick species are located throughout the state and the human pathogens they may carry.

Researchers are especially interested in deer ticks because they are the primary transmitters of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that often causes a rash and flu-like symptoms.

“This much-needed data will be shared with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,” said Deb Hudman, a senior research associate at the university.

“This data will also help guide outreach and education efforts about ticks in Missouri to help increase knowledge of tick-borne illnesses and precautions people should take when working or recreating in the outdoors.”

Hunters interested in helping with the research study should follow the steps listed below:

  • Place the live deer ticks in a plastic zip-top bag with a damp paper towel or moist cotton ball.
  • Fold the bag and place it inside another plastic zip-top bag with a completed submission form.
  • To print out the form, visit: https://www.atsu.edu/missouri-ticks-and-tick-borne-pathogen-surveillance-research.
  • Finally, put the bag and form in an envelop and mail it to: A.T. Still University, ATTENTION: Deb Hudman — Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology, 800 W. Jefferson St., Kirksville MO 63501.

Hudman said the research is not intended to provide a clinical diagnosis of any illness someone may have. Information from the study also should not be substituted for medical testing or consultation with a physician.

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