Residents are reminded that ticks are active on winter days over 40 degrees.

TINTON FALLS, NJ — A research study on Monmouth County’s 11-year effort to track and analyze the tick population has been published in a national peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Authored by scientists Robert Jordan and Andrea Egizi of the county’s Mosquito Control Division, the study published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) summarizes the results of the free tick identification service offered to county residents since 2006.

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“It is great to see the hard work being done by the division nationally recognized, showing that Monmouth County is at the forefront of tick surveillance, collection and identification,” said Freeholder Susan M. Kiley, division liaison. “In fact, Monmouth County is the only county in New Jersey with an established tick surveillance program.”

As part of its Tick-borne Diseases Program, county residents submit ticks for evaluation to determine whether they are carrying disease-causing organisms for Lyme disease, among several other illnesses transmitted through ticks. Residents must complete a form that asks about the tick encounter, including the resident’s age and gender, where and when the tick was found and what the resident was doing at the time of the encounter.

After submission, residents receive a report describing the tick species, life stage and engorgement level. The findings can indicate the risk of potential tick-borne disease transmission and provide important information for clinicians as needed.

Program scientists then analyze the data provided by residents, along with information about each tick to better understand tick encounters in Monmouth County.

According to the published study, there is a need to better educate vulnerable age groups, such as children and the elderly, to ensure prompt tick detection and removal. Improving awareness of tick exposure risk during "mundane" outdoor activities, such as raking leaves or gardening, and during the winter months is also needed.

“Studies such as this, as well as field monitoring, assist the county in educating the public and developing management strategies to reduce tick encounters and the diseases they may transmit,” said Kiley.

The research published in PLoS One, a multidisciplinary Open Access journal that publishes high quality, peer-reviewed research, is available free to the public.

County residents are reminded that ticks are active on winter days over 40 degrees. Ticks are found in leaf litter, low shrubs in wooded areas and forest edges. It is important to use repellents and check for ticks when participating in outdoor activities at home, parks or trails. 

For a copy of a program brochure, click herepdf.

For more information about the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division and its Tick Identification Service, go to www.visitmonmouth.com or call 732-542-3630.