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Extensive Infestation of an Invasive Asian Tick Discovered in New Jersey


The potential impact of this tick on tickborne illness in New Jersey residents is not yet known. In other parts of the world, the bush tick has been associated with several tickborne diseases, some of which are found in New Jersey, such as spotted fever rickettsioses. The Department of Agriculture is investigating if the ticks found locally are carrying any potential pathogens that may impact human or animal health.

Large numbers of an East Asian tick species were found on a 12-year-old Icelandic sheep in Hunterdon County and all over its paddock in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, according to a study by scientists at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

The species – Haemaphysalis longicornis, Neumann – is a major livestock pest in Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific Islands, the study says.

All life stages of the tick were found on the sheep, which has no history of recent travel inside or outside the US. It is not known whether the ticks represent a limited or established population, but vigilance is encouraged because this species could pose a significant threat to human and animal health in the United States, the study says.

The sheep died, likely from unrelated causes. But efforts to determine if the Hunterdon infestation has survived the winter are underway and may not yield results until April or May, according to Dina M. Fonseca, director of the Center for Vector Biology and professor of entomology, ecology & evolution, microbiology and public health at Rutgers–New Brunswick.

To read the full article from Rutgers, click here.


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