East Asian tick is now confirmed in two NJ counties


East Asian tick is now confirmed in second N.J. county

The East Asian Tick, shown here before and after feeding, has been discovered in Union County
The East Asian Tick, shown here before and after feeding, has been discovered in Union County(Photo courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture)

An exotic species of tick that survived the winter in Hunterdon County has now been found in another part of New Jersey.

The East Asian tick, also known as Longhorned tick or the bush tick, was found on the Watchung Reservation in Union County, the NewJersey Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. The tickwas collected at the site last May, but identification was not made until Monday.

The Watchung Reservation is about 40 miles from the Hunterdon County farm where the tick was found last August. That tick was identified as the East Asian tick in November.

It is still unknown how the tick, which was not previously known to exist in the United States, made it to New Jersey. It was found by a farmer who was shearing a sheep on an unidentified Hunterdon County farm.

The sheep has never traveled internationally and has rarely left Hunterdon County, according to Andrea Egizi, a tick specialist at the Monmouth County Tick-borne Disease Lab.

Longhorn ticks found on the ear of a Hunterdon County sheep last year have now been found in Union County. (Photo courtesy of Tadhgh Rainey)

The department of agriculture said several local, state and federal animal health officials, as well as Rutgers University, are working together to identify the range of the ticks and develop a plan to eliminate them from the Watchung Reservation, a county park that is over 2,000 acres in size that includes a public stable and nature center.

Officials will continue to monitor Hunterdon County as well, where steps were taken were taken to eradicate the insect from the farm by using a chemical wash on the sheep and removing tall grass where the they are known to dwell.

Department of Agriculture officials are saying that its animal and plant health inspection service team and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife are examining white-tailed deer near the Hunterdon County farm after confirming that an East Asian Tick was found on one on April 24. The deer was first examined on April 19, and is now the first finding of the tick feeding on wildlife.

Although the ticks are known to carry diseases, such as spotted fever rickettsioses in other parts of the world, tests performed on the ticks and the farm animals in Hunterdon County were negative for diseases. The department of agriculture did not say if the tick found in Union County carried any diseases.

The Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology and the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division will also be hosting a tick blitz on May 10. Mosquito control commission members from throughout the state will be collecting ticks from from each county in New Jersey during the blitz.

The nymphs of the East Asian Ticks are very small, resemble small spiders and are easy to miss, according to the Department of Agriculture. They are dark brown, about the size of a pea when full grown and can be found in tall grasses.

They are known to swarm and infest a variety of wildlife as well as humans, dogs, cats and livestock.

Authorities are asking people to contact the state veterinarian at 609-671-6400 if they see any unusual ticks on their livestock.

Unusual ticks detected in wildlife should be reported to the NewJersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau or Wildlife Management at 908-637-4173, ext. 120.

Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.


Bourbon Virus

A farmer passed away in Kansas in 2014 from what is believed to be a new tickborne disease. Named for Bourbon county in Kansas, the Bourbon virus is a thogotovirus and similar to both the Dhori virus and the Batken virus, which are both found only in the eastern hemisphere.

Bourbon virus endocytosis
Bourbon virus, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The man had symptoms similar to those of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, including that he had a rash on his abdomen. He passed away from multiple organ failure after 11 days.

The virus has not yet been found in ticks, but is believed to be tickborne because he had recently had a tick bite and attach itself.

If it is a tickborne disease, dogs may be at risk of the disease as well, and of course dogs can carry ticks in from outdoors and endanger humans.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment tracks the most common tickborne diseases in Kansas: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis.


Tick Surveillance Program in Alberta Canada

The health department in Alberta Canada is working to determine the risk of Lyme disease in Alberta. Folks in that area should safely collect and contain any tick they find on their pets, themselves or other humans, or walking around unattached.

Ticks-Surveillance-SubmitFollow the directions on this website for how to submit the tick to aid in the statistical survey. You don’t have to identify the type of tick. That will be determined later as part of the survey. All blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) submitted will then be tested for the bacteria that transmit Lyme disease.

This program doesn’t test humans or dogs for Lyme disease, nor does it return results about the ticks submitted. But by submitting any ticks you find, you’ll help Alberta Health determine the risk of Lyme disease in your area.


Ticks in Alaska

Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Yes, ticks that carry diseases endangering dogs and humans are sadly now found in Alaska. The two species that seem to be best established are the American Dog tick and the brown dog tick.

Ticks in Alaska were formerly limited to species that principally fed on small rodents and were not dangerous to dogs or humans.

So far, tick infestations of these dangerous species new to Alaska have been found in Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, Juneau, North Pole, Sitka, Valdez, and Willow. Veterinarians are recommending that people in these areas check their dogs for ticks and consider tick prevention treatments.

Tick silhouette


“Big Tick Project” in the U.K.

Tickborne diseases are becoming more of a problem in Great Britain. The “Big Tick Project” of the University of Bristol is helping spread awareness of the dangers of ticks.

Veterinarians are helping collect ticks found on dogs throughout the country and send them to the university for data collection.

The video covers the growing tick problem in the U.K. and also offers information to owner on how to identify and remove ticks correctly from their dogs