‘Passive surveillance’ sounds complicated – what is it? What is Active surveillance?2019-06-19T14:39:31+00:00
Passive tick surveillance is collecting ticks while out in nature with your main purpose for being outside being something else. For example, one can be participating in passive surveillance if they are tending to their garden and collect any ticks that happen to be attached to you or a pet. This is different from active tick surveillance where researchers specifically pick locations to seek out ticks and their main focus is looking for ticks.
How can I participate? What can I do to be involved if there is no hub in my county?2019-06-19T14:39:26+00:00

If you’re interested in finding a hub near you so that you can begin being an I-TICK participant, head over to our How I-TICK Works page and look under “How does it work for an individual participant.” We provide an up-to-date map on the locations of our hubs as well as an extensive list with information on how to get in contact with a public hub.

If you’d like to become a volunteer for I-TICK but we currently do not have a hub in your county, we suggest still taking a look at our map and seeing if there a close hub nearby. We are currently working on making sure every county in Illinois has at least one public hub to drop off tick-kits. If you still have any questions concerning how to get involved, please contact Peg Gronemeyer at mag6@illinois.edu and provide your contact information so that we can let you know when we have added a hub in your area.

Will participating cost me anything?2019-06-19T14:39:22+00:00

Absolutely not! Our I-TICK team distributes our kits to hubs that are participating at no cost to the hub or the participants. We provide the return labels and don’t charge for the materials provided as we are only interested in the information the ticks bring to our research. To put it shortly, participation is free and we encourage your participation!

Help! I found a tick on me what should I do?2019-06-19T14:39:18+00:00

If you find a tick crawling on you or a pet, use tweezers to remove it and put it in a vial of alcohol so that it may be properly preserved for the program. The knowledge that I-TICK participants help us collect helps the Illinois Department of Public Health identify areas of higher risk of tick-borne illnesses within the state of Illinois. Don’t feel obligated to send us the tick if you are worried you have come in contact with an infected tick. Bring it with you to a healthcare location if you deem it necessary.

We have also provided a safety instruction sheet on how to properly remove a tick which can also be accessed through our How I-TICK Works under “I-TICK kit.” It is important to remember that not all ticks carry pathogens that cause disease. Particular tick species carry certain pathogens that in turn can cause a disease if the tick bites an animal. To learn about the most common ticks here in Illinois and the pathogens they spread, revert back to our How I-TICK Works page under “Tick Identification”.

Can I get my tick tested through the I-TICK program?2019-06-19T14:39:11+00:00

Unfortunately not. We do not test the ticks we collect for diseases until after tick season is over and the testing is random. By the time the ticks are tested, the incubation period will have already passed on so it would be of no help in terms of receiving proper medical care. It is also unlikely that we will be able to share the data collected if a specific tick you sent through the I-TICK program tested positive for a disease. However, if you would like to have a tick that was attached tested, you can visit the TickEncounter website for more details. It is important to note that the CDC does not recommend testing ticks for diagnosis. To learn more, please visit the CDC’s website about Tick Removal and Testing.

What if I don’t find any ticks?2019-06-19T14:39:06+00:00
No worries. It is also important to learn of areas where no ticks are being found because it helps with targeting the best locations for active tick surveillance.
What time of year am I most susceptible to being bitten by a tick?2019-06-19T14:39:02+00:00

Ticks begin to roam during spring to early fall. It is during this time of year that ticks begin to come out and bite so it is especially important to practice proper tick precautions during the months of May to October.

Will I get Lyme disease (or any other pathogen) if I help?2019-06-19T14:38:56+00:00
While unlikely, there is no way for us to answer that, but please realize that not all ticks carry pathogens and a tick generally needs to be attached for several hours to infect you. (But don’t crush a tick with your fingers–the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is inside the ticks–that is what you don’t want to touch).
To see how Lyme disease is transmitted through a tick, visit this webpage provided by the CDC and scroll down to “How ticks spread disease.”
The I-TICK program wants to remind you that we do not want you to change your daily activities so that you can participant in the program. We are seeking passive surveillance volunteers who are often out in nature and would like to help identify possible problematic tick areas within Illinois.
I filled all 5 vials, but it has been over a span of a few months instead of two weeks. Can you still use these?2019-06-19T14:38:51+00:00
Yes absolutely!  The 5 days of collection over a two week period is an “ideal” situation because it gives us extra information about the timing of tick activity, but as long as a date and the location of the county where the tick was found is provided, we can use utilize the information provided.
Tick-Borne Diseases – What are they?2019-06-19T14:46:06+00:00

Tick-borne diseases are diseases that get transmitted by ticks. Note that they are not specifically caused by the tick itself but rather the tick acts as a vector for the disease. The diseases are caused by the bacterium the ticks happen to be carrying such as Lyme disease or Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks themselves are not born carrying these diseases and acquire it from feeding on an infected host so not every tick transmits diseases, only if they have become infected.