A child in Bergen County is the first person in the U.S. to have been found carrying an exotic tick species discovered by researches last fall, scientists announced Tuesday.
The child carrying the Longhorned Tick was not bitten and tests by a private lab revealed no pathogens in that tick, according to the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. It was not known where the child was from.
Bergen County's first Longhorned Tick spotting was at Soldier Hill Golf Course in Emerson earlier this summer, making Bergen County the fifth in the state to contain the tick, according to the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) .
Earlier New Jersey findings have been confirmed in Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex and Mercer counties.
Various local, state, and federal animal health agencies, as well as Rutgers–New Brunswick, continue to work together to identify the range of the Longhorned tick in New Jersey. 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 Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. Although specimens identified in New Jersey have not been found to carry pathogens, 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.
“We want to emphasize that it is important that people continue to use normal tick prevention measures for themselves, their pets and livestock,” said Dr. Manoel Tamassia, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian. “We will work to continue to develop strategies to control the spread of the tick to other areas.”
As part of New Jersey’s investigation, counties have set up drop off locations for the public to submit ticks they find on themselves, their pets, livestock or on wildlife.
Information on these locations and how to submit a tick can be found on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website .
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