SOURCE: Belli AA, et al. Revisiting detachment techniques in human-biting ticks. J Am Acad Dermatol 2016;75:393-397.

Ticks transmit pathogens to victims around the globe. This particular data set was provided by a group of Turkish physicians, for whom the necessity to determine optimum tick removal technique was highlighted by a 2003 epidemic of tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever that led to 300,000 tick-bite related admissions in one year.

Investigators studied four techniques — tweezers, freezing, lassoing, and card-detachment (a card with a narrow slit/channel into which a tick might be caught and removed) — among 160 patients presenting to the Dermatology Clinic at Haseki Training and Research Hospital (Istanbul). Except for the tweezer technique, all other methods were performed with commercial products specifically designed by the manufacturer to remove ticks.

There was great diversity in efficacy of tick removal, ranging from 0% (freezing), 7.5% (card-detachment technique), 47.5% (lassoing technique), and 82.5% (tweezers). The successful tweezer technique was simple: Grab the mouth parts, do not rotate, and pull off directly.