FREEHOLD, NJ – An Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) has been identified in Monmouth County. This species has been found in several New Jersey counties as well as other eastern states in the last several months.
The tick was brought in to the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division by a resident who found the specimen on the floor of her residence. Initial identification using DNA barcoding was made by the Monmouth County Tick-borne Diseases Lab, located at Rutgers University, and confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
“We have not yet found other samples of this species in the County,” said Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto. “As always, the Monmouth County Health Department will continue to gather and test all species of common human-biting ticks through our active surveillance program.”
In other parts of the world the Asian longhorned tick can pose a serious threat to humans, pets, and livestock. However, all NJ samples tested for pathogens have been negative. The pathogen testing was done by the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology in collaboration with the Monmouth County tick lab. Tick-borne diseases transmitted by native species of ticks, like blacklegged (deer) ticks and lone star ticks, remain the most significant concern for Monmouth County residents.
Ticks can be found in wooded or grassy areas or on animals, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends the following precautions to protect against all species of ticks:
- Avoid grassy, brushy or wooded areas and stay in the center of trails
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin
- Use insect repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old
- Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old
- Check your body and clothing for ticks
- Examine gear and pets
- Shower soon after being outdoors
The County provides a free Tick Identification Service to residents that can determine species, stage and engorgement level. To submit a suspicious tick, place it in a sealed container (dead or alive) and bring it to the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division at 1901 Wayside Rd., Tinton Falls, NJ 07724, between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 4 p.m., along with a completed submission form.
Additional information on the Monmouth County Health Department’s tick programs and testing can be found at www.visitmonmouth.com.