TickReport - Laboratory of Medical Zoology
LMZ TickReport fundraiser
Welcome to the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at the University of Massachusetts, or LMZ for short. The LMZ is a unique, multidisciplinary center for studying disease. Our focus is on zoonotic diseases, which are those diseases that spillover from nature and into human public health relevance. We focus on diseases that spillover by the bite of an arthropod vector, i.e. a tick or a mosquito.
LMZ has participated in research all over the world from studying human malaria in Africa to investigating the genetics of the agents and vectors of Lyme disease. That research has been reported in some of the most prestigious peer reviewed journals and various conferences, and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, United States Department of Agriculture, and other private and state funding sources..
While these research accomplishments are gratifying, we’re equally proud of the efforts in recent years to make the lab and data we collect accessible to other constituencies. In particular, we’ve created a service platform that allows individuals to get information about disease risk by testing ticks that have bitten them. TickReport is our customized risk assessment tool for individuals that have been bitten by ticks and want to know more about that bite. Certain ticks carry dangerous disease-causing microbes and so a tick bite presents a potentially dangerous exposure. Some ticks are not infected, while others may be infected with one or even several microbes. Our lab has developed extremely sensitive and highly specific tests to determine which ticks are infected and which are not. Since all tick-borne diseases start with a tick bite, a TickReportTM analysis can be an important step in understanding the exposure risk and help guides steps toward preventing disease.
We test ticks from all 50 of the United States, and beyond. We provide information about the feeding status of the tick and we use the latest technologies to determine whether the ticks are infected. We share this information publicly and provide it to local, county and state agencies that want to know more about risks to their constituencies.
TickReportTM is a non-profit, fee-for-service at the LMZ. Fees collected pay for materials, equipment and personnel required to provide this service. As we’ve grown in our first ten years, we improved and expanded our services. Today, we test more ticks, for more pathogens, and provide more people with valuable information about the tick encounters that they can share with their health care providers to help guide diagnosis and treatment when necessary.
TickReportTM has been a highly successful endeavor that was pulled up in its own bootstraps using a crowd-funding model of sustainability. As its grown, we’ve been able to reduce fees and improve our methods in our first decade. Now we stand ready to take it to the next level and we’re appealing to our supporters (over 20,000 of you!) for support. We’re doing our first-ever fundraising effort to increase our capacity and our service. This MinuteFund campaign is not unlike other crowd-funding sites, but in this case it is run entirely by the University of Massachusetts (our parent institution) which provides all of the funds collected directly to the University. No outside fees are assessed on your contributions.
We’re setting as our loft goal to get recruit as many donors to our cause as we possibly can. The CDC estimates the total number of Lyme disease cases to be on the order of 300,000, so our target is to get one donation for every Lyme sufferer. We’ve already completed over 20,000 TickReports for people just like you, and so if we can just appeal to each of our users to recruit some friends and family, we make this fundraiser viral and reach our goal of bringing people together to reduce the incidence of tick-borne disease in the US. To learn
How will the funds be used?
Every penny collected will go toward improving our not-for-profit tick testing service. Our goal is to improve TickReport while at the same time making it more affordable to more people. The more ticks we receive, the better will be the data that we collect. Below is a summary of the allocation of your donations that will support our mission.
40% - Development
- New tests for additional pathogens and strain differentiation
- Improved efficiencies with value added and cost reduction
25% - Outreach
- Webinars, conference, and print materials for distribution to towns and agencies in support of their fight against tick-borne disease in their communities.
25% - Research
- Develop new interventions means of source reduction (tick control, vaccines, etc)
10% - Angel Fund
- Financial aid for tick testers experiencing financial hardship
THANK YOU FOR YOU KIND DONATION!