UAMS begins study on tick-borne diseases, asks Arkansans for help collecting ticks

UAMS requesting ticks from Arkansans

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Monday marks the first day you can help with an important project monitoring ticks and tick disease in our state.

We first told you about a woman living with Lyme disease in March, which sparked a huge conversation about where tick disease stands. Since that story aired, a doctor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science has started collecting and studying ticks here in the natural state.

The last known study for ticks was back in 1996 when the Little Rock Air Force Base declared Arkansas as having a moderate to high risk for tick-borne diseases.

UAMS launched the first of its kind study, asking Arkansans to mail in their ticks. Lori Lynn, a Lyme disease advocate, is excited about a new study happening at UAMS. The study looks to uncover the amount of ticks and their disease throughout Arkansas.

"People ask me a lot why is it so important to find these ticks and it's for people like me,” Lynn said. "Previously, the medical community and the Arkansas Department of Health says that we don't have lime here, but we do know that there were studies done in 1993 and 1995."

Lynn said when she heard about the study she knew her 28 acres of land should be a place worth visiting, after noticing her two dogs bringing in more than 30 ticks a day. She called UAMS researchers and extended the invite to her land.

"Every single time they find not only different kind of ticks, but ticks that aren't actually supposed to be in season yet,” Lynn said.

Now, UAMS is looking to set the record straight with a website providing information about possible ticks in the Natural State. The website asks Arkansans to mail in and report any ticks they find.  Lynn is hoping this will bring more attention to the growing problem of people struggling with Lyme disease.

"We would really like to see people from every single county in Arkansas send in ticks,” Lynn said. “It’s really simple.”

Currently, she drives more than three hours just to visit the closest tick specialist and like others living with the disease, she wants more doctors to get involved in the conversation.

"It’s going to give us a chance to really set the record straight on how much Lyme is affecting Arkansas,” Lynn said.

The information on how to mail ticks to UAMS is here. They've made the process pretty simple, you put the tick in a bag, mail to the address on the website and wait for the results.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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