A swarming, exotic tick species is now living year round in N.J.

An exotic species of tick that mysteriously appeared in New Jersey last year is now here to stay.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the East Asian tick, also known as Longhorned tick or the bush tick, which was discovered on a Hunterdon County farm last year, has survived the winter.

“Ongoing surveillance continued during the winter and on April 17, 2018, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the Longhorned tick successfully overwintered in New Jersey and has possibly become established in the state,” it was stated in a news release.

Last summer, a farmer walked into the Hunterdon County health office covered in thousands of the ticks after she was shearing a 12-year-old Icelandic sheep named Hannah. Experts were called in to identify the tick which was not previously known to exist in the United States. The Department of Agriculture says it still does not know how the tick made its way to New Jersey.

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.

The longhorn tick. The larval and nymphal stages are difficult to observe with the naked eye. Larvae can be found from late summer to early winter. (Photo courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture)

When the incident was first reported, steps 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. The exact location of the farm and the identity of the sheep farmer is being withheld by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

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 were negative for diseases.

Local, state and federal animal health and wildlife officials, as well as Rutgers University – Center for Vector Biology, are working together to eliminate the ticks and stop them from spreading. Wildlife and livestock in the area will continue to be monitored throughout the year.

The ticks are known to swarm and infest deer and animals other than sheep, so the department is warning that it has the potential to infect other North American wildlife species. The ticks reproduce asexually by cloning themselves and just one of them is capable of laying thousands of eggs.

State and federal Department of Agriculture employees will be working with the public to determine if the tick has spread and to educate the public about protecting their livestock and pets from the pest.

The nymphs of the 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.

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 New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau or Wildlife Management at 908-637-4173, ext. 120.

Any questions about tick-borne illness in humans should be directed to local health departments or the New Jersey Department of Health at 609-826-5964.

Source: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2018/04/a_swarming_exotic_tick_species_now_dwells_in_nj.html#incart_river_index

Scrapie Program Update – Samples Needed for State Sampling Quota

At the most recent General Meeting Dr. Linda Detwiler provided an update on the USDA scrapie program and the need for collecting samples from Sheep that are over 18 months old that die in order to meet the state sampling quota. Owners that allow for samples to be collected will be eligible for the free scrapie tags with your farm’s assigned premise ID. The importance of this program can not be overstated. If we are able to collect enough data from the scrapie monitoring program over the next few years, we may be able to declare the U.S. scrapie free which would open up a number of opportunities for U.S. Sheep producers.

From APHIS website:

Since slaughter surveillance stared in FY 2003, the percent of cull sheep found positive at slaughter (once adjusted for face color) has decreased 90 percent. However, in order to declare the U.S. “scrapie free”, we must be able to prove to the world that we have conducted testing in all sheep and goat populations. This is why your submission of samples from sheep/goats over 18 months of age found dead or euthanized on your farm is extremely important. Without your help, we will not be able to declare the US free of scrapie, costing the sheep and goat industries approximately $10 to $20 million, annually.


Information below is from the US APHIS website.

Instructions for collecting and submitting samples.

Whole Head Packing Procedures


Also see:

National Scrapie Eradication Program


Evaluation of chemical castration with calcium chloride versus surgical castration in donkeys: testosterone as an endpoint marker



For the last few years, researchers have been interested in developing a method for chemical sterilization which may be a better alternative to surgical castration. An ideal chemical sterilant would be one that effectively arrests spermatogenesis and androgenesis as well as libido with absence of toxic or other side effects. Calcium chloride in various solutions and concentrations has been tested in many animal species, but few studies have been evaluated it in equines as a chemical sterilant. So, the objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of chemical castration with 20 % calcium chloride dissolved in absolute ethanol in comparison with surgical castration in donkeys based on the changes in the serum testosterone level and the histopathological changes in treated testes.


Twelve clinically healthy adult male donkeys were used in this study. Donkeys were divided randomly and equally into two groups: a surgical (S) group (n = 6) and a chemical (C) group (n  = 6). Animals in the (S) group were subjected to surgical castration while those in the (C) group received a single bilateral intratesticular injection of 20 % calcium chloride dissolved in absolute ethanol (20 ml/testis). Animals were kept under clinical observation for 60 days. Changes in animals’ behavior and gross changes in external genitalia were monitored daily. Serum concentrations of testosterone were measured prior to treatment and at 15, 30, 45 and 60 days post-treatment. Testicles in the (C) group were examined histopathologically at the end of the experiment.


Chemical castration with intratesticular calcium chloride vs. surgical castration failed to reduce serum concentrations of testosterone throughout the whole duration of the study; however it induced orchitis that was evident by focal necrotic areas in seminiferous tubules, cellular infiltration of neutrophils, proliferative intertubular fibrosis with a compensatory proliferation of Leydig cells. Donkeys tolerated the intratesticular injection of calcium chloride. There were no detectable changes in the general health status of the animals with the exception of swelling in external genitalia, scrotal ulcerations and fistulas. Food and water consumption and the gait of animals remained unaffected.


Intratesticular calcium chloride can’t be considered an effective method for chemical castration in donkeys.

Source:  BMC Veterinary Research, 2016, 12:46 
BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted

DOI: 10.1186/s12917-016-0670-3
©  Ibrahim et al. 2016
Authors:  Ahmed Ibrahim Email author, Magda M. Ali, Nasser S. Abou-Khalil and  Marwa F. Ali

Received: 7 September 2015
Accepted: 2 March 2016
Published: 8 March 2016

Full article on BioMed Central (Open Access Publisher).

Abstract only provided above as allowed by Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​).