The rare and exotic Longhorned tick was found in Bergen County recently, the Bergen County Executive’s Office said Friday.
Alicia D’Alessandro, a spokesperson with the Bergen County Executive’s Office said county officials found the tick in a wooded area in central Bergen County, but would not comment regarding specifically when or where it was found.
Jeff Wolfe, a spokesman with the state Department of Agriculture said he did not know the specifics behind the discovery.
According to the Bergen County Executive’s Office, the longhorned ticks found so far in New Jersey have tested negative for any pathogens dangerous to humans or animals. In other countries however, the ticks have spread disease to humans.
Various local, state, and federal animal health agencies and officials from Rutgers University in New Brunswick are trying to identify the range of the ticks and develop a plan to eliminate them where they were found.
The tick is dark-brown and grows to the size of a pea when fully engorged, to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has stated. Similar to deer ticks, the nymphs of the Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. They are known to infest a wide range of species including humans, dogs, cats, and livestock.
Bergen is the fifth New Jersey county where the tick has been spotted. State Department of Agriculture officials confirmed the tick, also known as the East Asian tick, was found in Mercer County last month.
New ticks were also found in Hunterdon, Union, and Middlesex counties as far back as 2013 when one was found on a Union County dog.
The tick was initially located in November in Hunterdon County. Since then, it was discovered at a park in Union County and at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Cook Campus farm in Middlesex County.
The tick from 2013 was re-examined by Rutgers University staff and then sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for confirmation. It remains unknown how the tick first arrived in the state.
As part of the investigation, counties have set up drop off locations where people can 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.
A tick line has also been established to leave a message if a tick is found and there is uncertainty about what the next steps are. The number is 1-833-NEWTICK (1-833-639-8425).
Image via NJ Dept of Agriculture: Full and adult tick