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What a Tick Can Tell a Doctor: Using the Human-Biting Tick in the Clinical Management of Tick-Borne Disease

Abstract
With expanding concern about ticks, there is a general sense of uncertainty about the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases. The diagnosis process is often based on clinical judgment in conjunction with laboratory testing and can be pathogen specific. Treatments may require disease-dependent approaches, and co-infections complicate or increase the severity of the clinical picture. Measuring exposure indices in the tick has become popular among providers and their patients, though this practice is not universally understood, and certain public health agencies have voiced concerns regarding interpretation and rigor of testing. As many providers subscribe to or recommend these services to aid in pretest risk and exposure assessments, this work sought to clarify the role of pathogen testing human-biting ticks as a complement to the diagnostic pipeline and raises points that must be addressed through future research and interdisciplinary conversation. Future work is needed to develop quality control oversight for tick testing laboratories. Studies on the integration of tick testing with human cases to see how these services affect health outcomes are also needed. Alongside these, improvements in the quality and availability of diagnostics are of critical importance.
Type
article
article
Date
2023-01-01
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Rights
UMass Amherst Open Access Policy
License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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