Invasive tick species appears in New Jersey

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 26, 2018

The Haemaphysalis longicornis Neumann tick species, which is known to East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific islands, was found infesting a sheep in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, late past year. Until that time, this tick was not known to exist in the U.S. How it arrived in New Jersey remains a mystery.

Following initial identification by the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University and the Hunterdon County Department of Health, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed on November 9, 2017 the finding of an exotic East Asian tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis), also known as the Longhorned or bush tick, on a farm in Hunterdon County.

The Longhorned tick is known to infest deer and a wide range of other hosts. The sheep later died from an unrelated cause.

Officials said they don't know how the tick ended up in Hunterdon County but a local biologist said it will likely spread quickly on animals.

The discovery of a foreign species of tick in New Jersey recently has alarmed authorities, who are trying to investigate how it got here.

According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's website, like deer ticks, the nymphs of the Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. Experts are concerned how the East Asian tick entered the United States. Symptoms of SFTS include fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, disease of the lymph nodes, and conjunctival congestion.

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