The exotic longhorned tick has been found in Bergen County.

NJ Department of Agriculture

Bergen County girl believed to be first U.S. carrier of Longhorned tick

July 25, 2018 - 12:23 pm

HACKENSACK, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- It's tick season.

A 12-year-old girl from Bergen County is believed to be the first person in the U.S. carrying an exotic tick discovered by researchers last fall.

Lab tests show the tick -- a species from Asia known as the 'Longhorned' tick -- does not carry the pathogens that cause lyme disease.

"It's significant because we know it's been here for at least five years and we haven't had any known human encounters," Dina Fonseca, director of the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology said. "We’re at the bottom of a big mountain in trying to understand the biology of this species in the U.S., so any new discovery in how it acts is important."

Longhorned ticks are small and hard to detect on people. They are dark brown and can reach the size of a pea when filled with blood.

The ticks can infect dogs, cats, and livestock, but researchers want to know if it will become a threat to humans.