GUELPH -- A new app to identify dangerous species of ticks, dubbed “E-Tick,” has been launched by a concerned citizens group, including team members from the University of Guelph.

E-Tick allows people to submit photos of a tick which is then looked at by an expert and identified.

“We provide them an automatic message back to the user in their email telling them their potential public health or veterinary risk associated with that tick species,” said Dr. Pierre Chuard, the E-Tick project coordinator. “Once you submit a tick picture in most provinces, including the weekend, you will get a quick answer.”

A team from the University of Guelph’s veterinary school is part of the project.

The program also includes a map of where ticks have previously been found.

Public Health Ontario lists South Wellington County as a lime disease risk area this year.

“The black legged tick, otherwise known as the deer tick is the biggest concern for human transmission of lyme disease,” said Shawn Zentner, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s manager of environmental health.

In the past, public health agencies would accept drop-off submissions of the insect for analysis, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic that service has been suspended.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is still accepting photos by email, but is recommending residents use E-Tick as the health unit remains busy with its pandemic response.

“It's all helpful,” Zentner said. “It's definitely an advantage.”