An established population of a tick never before seen in the U.S. was discovered last summer in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is native to Asia but has been found in places like New Zealand and Australia on sheep. It is primarily a pest of livestock but will feed on humans as well.

Health officials have no idea how the tick got here. The ticks were so numerous that they crawled up the pant legs of the people walking on the property. The ticks were controlled, but researchers will return to the property this spring to determine if there are still populations and set traps for wild animals to see if they are infested and may have spread the infestation.

Any such case of a new tick is alarming because they can carry and transmit diseases. It has also been found that birds can become infested with many kinds of ticks, and may spread them long distances along their migration routes.