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Upstate scientists explain where ticks are most likely to attach to people

Fairfax County

Scientists at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, have some advice on where to check for ticks on your body. 

Upstate’s Citizen Science Tick Testing Program has been getting information about ticks from New Yorkers for the past year. And one of the things they’re finding, is where ticks are most likely to attach to the human body. The answer according to researcher Saravanan Thangamani, is your thigh and midsection.

"Almost 16% of ticks that attach to the human are in the thigh area,” Thangamani said. “And the waist, stomach and groin area are the next ones.”

Thangamani said this isn’t surprising, because ticks are attracted to warm moist areas of the body that aren’t immediately noticed. When it comes to ticks with Lyme disease, they were most likely to attach to the upper back and stomach. Thangamani said that’s an interesting outcome that they’ll continue to investigate.

"We are tracking this information now, but it’s something accidentally we found, and I cannot honestly explain why,” Thangamani said.

This kind of information can be important, he said, because when someone returns from an area where ticks are prevalent, it’s important to inspect their body and look for ticks. An earlier study from Thanamani found that one-third of ticks across central New York carry Lyme disease. The Upstate Citizen Science Tick program continues to take tick submissions to determine how disease moves from the tick population to humans.