Tick-Borne Diseases in New Jersey
The three most common tick species in New Jersey are the black-legged or “deer tick,” the lone star tick, and the American dog tick. All three are capable of transmitting disease to humans and pets.
The most common tick-borne diseases in New Jersey are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis. The early signs and symptoms may include: skin rash, tiredness, fever, chills, headache, a stiff neck, muscle aches, joint pain, or dizziness. See your health care provider if you develop any of these symptoms after a tick bite. A rare infection, known as the Powassan Virus
, can be spread by an infected tick.
Various stages of the tick life cycle (larvae, nymph, adults) are active at different times of year and present different risks for disease transmission. While most cases occur in the warmer months (May-August) tick-borne disease can be contracted at any time of the year.
How to protect yourself
Personal protection is the most effective way to prevent tick-borne disease. This includes avoiding tick habitat; wearing light colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted and removed easily; tucking your shirt into pants and pants into socks; using insect repellents; avoiding brushing against overgrown vegetation; and performing careful tick checks as soon as you come in from outdoors.
The sooner you find and remove ticks, the less likely they are to transmit disease!!
Protecting your pets
Pets can also contract tick-borne illnesses and additionally, can be a mechanism by which hitchhiking ticks enter your home, placing humans at risk.
Tick control for the homeowner
The best way to reduce tick populations in your yard is to make environments unattractive to tick hosts (such as mice and deer) and unsuitable for tick survival (dry, sunny). Keep overhanging vegetation away from recreational areas like jungle gyms and clear the yard of brush, leaf litter, and high grass.
Chemical control should be a last resort if the above methods do not succeed in suppressing tick populations. This can be achieved either with chemicals targeting tick habitat (like sprays) or with chemicals that target the hosts of ticks (like bait boxes).