In recent months, the exotic longhorned tick has been found throughout the garden state, with one such tick being recently identified in Bergen County.
This invasive species uses humans, other mammals, and birds as hosts. Longhorned ticks found thus far in New Jersey have tested negative for pathogens dangerous to humans or animals, but in other countries these insects have spread disease to humans.
Various local, state, and federal animal health agencies, as well as Rutgers–New Brunswick, are working together to identify the range of the ticks and develop a plan to eliminate them from the areas where they are found. Like deer-ticks, the nymphs of the Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. To avoid tick bites, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture recommends the following:
· Apply a tick repellent containing at least 20% DEET to exposed skin and clothing.
· Apply a product containing permethrin to clothing to kill ticks.
· Stay in the middle of trails. Avoid contact with tall grasses, shrubs, fallen leaves, and logs under trees.
· Check yourself for ticks often and remove any ticks before leaving this area.
· Check your pet for ticks, keep pets on trails.
· Bathe or shower as soon as possible to wash off and more easily find ticks.
· Check your entire body for ticks for several days after you leave this area.
Persons with questions about tickborne illness in humans can contact their local health department at http://localhealth.nj.gov or the New Jersey Department of Health at 609-826-5964.