Agriculture officials say an exotic tick species was found in a farm in New Jersey, and no one knows how they got there.
According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in November of 2017, officials were made aware of the East Asian tick (also known as the Longhorned tick) being found on a farm in Hunterdon County.
After returning to the farm last week, officials say the ticks survived the winter and have become established in the state.
Country Living reports this species of ticks could carry the potential for new disease to the United States, including the virus that causes Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, which is a cause of Japanese spotted fever.
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.
The Longhorned tick is known to infest deer and a wide range of other hosts. Therefore, it has the potential to infect multiple North American wildlife species.
State officials continue to work to determine if the tick has spread beyond the farm and what the public can do to protect livestock.