Updated 5:04 PM; Posted 5:04 PM
By Michael Sol Warren firstname.lastname@example.org,
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday that the East Asian tick (also called the Longhorn tick) has been found in Middlesex County.
The ticks were discovered on May 10 at Rutgers's Cook Campus farm during a statewide "Tick Blitz" organized by the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology, according to the NJDA. The ticks were found in a patch of tall grass along College Farm Road.
The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the species of the ticks on May 11.
The ticks were first discovered last fall on a farm in Hunterdon county, where the ticks had swarmed a sheep. The sheep later died of natural causes.
Scientists had hoped that the ticks would not be able to survive New Jersey's winter, but the ticks managed to find a way. The ticks were confirmed to have overwintered in late April, proving their ability to survive year round in the Garden State.
In April, the state confirmed that ticks had been confirmed in Union County after being discovered at the Watching Reservation.
So far, the East Asian ticks in New Jersey have yet to show any harm to humans. Robert Goodman, the executive dean of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Health Sciences, stressed that people should be more concerned about native tick species.
"From a public health standpoint, however, people should be more concerned about our native ticks and the diseases they may carry, such as Lyme disease," Goodman said.
Multiple agencies, led by NJDA, are currently working to fight the tick's spread in the Garden State.
"We will continue with our plan to do what we can to delineate the areas with the tick and eliminate it from known sites of infestation," said Dr. Manoel Tamassia, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian, in the press release. "We emphasize that people continue to use tick prevention measures for themselves and their animals as all ticks become more active with warmer temperatures."
If unusual ticks are detected in livestock animals or if there are any questions regarding livestock, please contact the State Veterinarian at (609) 671-6400.
Unusual ticks detected in wildlife should be immediately reported to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics at (908) 637-4173 ext. 120