The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) has confirmed that the Asian Longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) was discovered in Somerset County, making it the seventh county in New Jersey where the tick has been found. The tick was found on a dog at a residence and was confirmed to be the Asian Longhorned tick earlier this week. Earlier findings have been confirmed in Bergen, Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex, Mercer and Monmouth counties.
Some of these findings have come as a result of residents submitting ticks to the county drop off locations, where they are picked up and sent for testing. A list of county drop off locations can be found at https://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/ah/pdf/TickCountyDropoffList.pdf
“The public has played an important role in helping us identify areas where this tick may be located,” said Dr. Manoel Tamassia, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian. “The knowledge we have gained from these findings will help us make decisions at local and national levels.”
Public parks where the Asian Longhorned tick has been found in New Jersey include Davidson Mill County Pond Park in Middlesex County, Overpeck County Park in Bergen County, and Watchung Reservation, Houdaille Quarry Park and Briant Park in Union County. There have also been confirmed findings of the Asian Longhorned tick in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Arkansas.
Various local, state, and federal animal health agencies, as well as Rutgers Center for Vector Biology, continue to work together to identify the range of the Asian Longhorned tick in New Jersey. Asian Longhorned ticks that have been collected in New Jersey thus far have tested negative for various human and animal pathogens.
Like deer ticks, the nymphs of the Asian Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. Asian Longhorned ticks in other countries have been shown to spread diseases. They are known to infest a wide range of species including humans, dogs, cats, and livestock.
As part of New Jersey’s investigation, instructions on how the public can submit ticks they find on themselves, their pets, livestock or on wildlife can be found on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/ah/
A phone line has also been established to leave a message if a tick is found and there is uncertainty about what the next steps are. If you need information about what to do if you find a tick on yourself, your pets or livestock call 1-833-NEWTICK (1-833-639-8425).
For more information on ticks and tick-borne disease visit: Rutgers Center for Vector Biology:
http://vectorbio.rutgers.edu/news.php; Rhode Island Tick Encounter site: http://www.tickencounter.org/; or
TickCheck Tick Testing: https://www.tickcheck.com/.