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ESU developed Lyme Disease test being sold in 23 states

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 31 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 01 2013 05:53:57 PM CST

A test created in Pennsylvania could help people learn if they have Lyme disease.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

A test created in Pennsylvania could help people learn if they have Lyme disease.

Students at East Stroudsburg University created Lyme Aid, a tick testing kit that is currently being sold in 23 states.

Pennsylvania ranks number one in reported Lyme disease cases nationwide according the Centers for Disease Control.

Students working in the Northeast Wildlife lab at East Stroudsburg University have been looking at ticks that carry the bacteria.

Then researchers had an idea.

"Was there some way we could develop a kit that people could send their ticks into us from themselves or from their pets," said Dr. Jane Huffman, director of the Northeast Wildlife Lab at East Stroudsburg University.

Dr. Jane Huffman, and student Melissa Shaw found a way to isolate the Lyme disease DNA in ticks and then came up with the test Lyme-Aid.

People use a special tick twister, place the bug in a plastic bag, and then send it to the lab at ESU.

"Every tick that we bring in we hope that it doesn't have Lyme disease because that is one thing that is a very serious illness that can cause people some serious harm if it is not treated in time," said Thomas Rounsvile, the scientist responsible for testing the ticks.

The kit is currently in 23 states right now and can be found at sporting goods stores, pet supply stores, and lawn and garden supply stores.

It's goal is safety first. Researchers suggest not waiting to buy the kit after you've been bitten but rather have the kits ahead of a bite.

"It's like having band-aids," said Joseph Orloski, who works in marketing with Garret Hewitt International. "You don't go out and buy band-aids after you are cut. You have them available. Same thing with the LymeAde kit."

Testing is more effective because in humans it tests the antibody.

Lyme-Aid tests the actual DNA of the bug.

Money made from the kits will help with further molecular biology research at the university.