County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Laboratory Services

Effective immediately

The Public Health Laboratory will no longer test the Dermacentor species ticks for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi. Dermacentor variabilis, also known as the American dog tick, is the most common species found in California.

Studies show that only the Ixodes species ticks can infect a host with B. burgdorferi upon blood-feeding. Ixodes pacificus, also known as the western blacklegged tick, is the most common species found in California. The Public Health Laboratory will continue testing the Ixodes species ticks for B. burgdorferi.

The laboratory will still accept and identify the Dermacentor species ticks. The fee for identification and/or testing will remain the same ($34), regardless of the type of the tick submitted. No refunds will be issued.

The Public Health Laboratory offers bacterial testing for well-water safety and tick identification for Lyme disease upon request.

Fees:

  • Well Water Testing is $24.00
  • Tick Identification is $34.00

Please make checks out to: Public Health Laboratory.

Effective May 8, 2019, the Public Health Lab began accepting online payments. You will still need to complete a laboratory requisition with your submission. The receipt number generated by the online portal must be included on the requisition. Links to the online payment portals appear below:

Tick Payment Portal
Water Payment Portal

*Fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Well Water Testing Procedure:

  • Pick up a kit at the Marin HHS Connection Center - 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94901
  • The kit contains:
    • A container for your water specimen
    • A form to be submitted with the sample
  • After collecting the sample return the kit to the Marin HHS Connection Center.

Water Testing Resources:

Tick Removal Procedure:

  • If possible, have someone else remove the tick from you.
  • Use tweezers or forceps rather than your fingers.
  • If you must touch tick use a tissue or gloves to protect your hand.
  • Grasp the tick's mouthparts as close to the skin as possible.
  • Gently pull the tick straight out, steadily and firmly. Do not twist or jerk the tick.
  • If mouthparts of the tick break off and remain in your skin, consult your physician.

Tick Collection Procedure:

  • Place tick into clean capped container or a zip-lock plastic bag. Place a piece of cotton or tissue moistened with tap water into the container with the tick. (Note: do not use alcohol, formalin or other liquids. Do not stick tick to scotch tape. These materials make testing for the Lyme organism unsatisfactory.)
  • Bring or ship tick to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  • Complete a laboratory supply the following information:
    • Name, address and birth date of person bitten.
    • Location of the bite (arm, neck, etc.)
    • Date tick removed.
    • Estimated duration of time tick was attached (i.e. 4hrs, 24hrs, etc.)
    • Geographical location (what city, park, etc.) tick was obtained.
    • Phone number, name and address of person to receive report.
    • Any obvious symptoms.

Tick Resources:

The Napa/Solano/Yolo/Marin Public Health Laboratory (NSYMPHL) offers an extensive array of clinical and biological tests related to communicable diseases. For information about specific tests, please call the laboratory at (707) 784-4410.