Ocean County Press Release
Ocean County Urges Residents to Be Informed About Ticks

TOMS RIVER – While ticks are most active in May and June, they are found throughout the year as long as temperatures are above freezing. And, while they do not fly, they crawl up low vegetation and wait for an animal or human to brush by them.

These are just some of the facts that will be discussed at an educational program on ticks being offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service of Ocean County.

"I would like to encourage our residents to attend this informative class," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Extension Service. "Ticks can carry diseases and it's important to be informed on what to look for, what steps to take to prevent tick borne diseases and what to do if you think you have been bitten by a tick."

The program will be held at the Ocean County Agriculture Center, 1623 Whitesville Road, here, at 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 28. It will include a discussion led by Tom Barnes, Ocean County Master Gardener. The Agriculture Center is located at the corner of Whitesville and Sunset Avenue in Toms River. The second-floor meeting room is handicapped accessible. There is no program fee, but registration is required by Thursday, April 24, contact Mary Ann at (732) 349-4524.

The deer tick in the nymph (immature) stage is the primary transmitter of Lyme disease, said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Health Department.

"In addition to Rutgers Extension Service, the Ocean County Health Department offers a wealth of information on ticks," Little said. "It's important our residents and visitors are made aware of the dangers of ticks."

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well. Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis are other diseases vectored by ticks.

"It is so important, for your own safety and the safety of your loved ones, to become familiar with tick habits and habitats, and learn how to prevent tick bites," Freeholder Vicari said.

Ticks generally feed for three to five days. If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible using tweezers only. Grasp the tick with the tweezers around its mouthpart, close to the skin. Pull it slowly and firmly. Place the tick in a
tightly sealed container with a water-moistened piece of paper towel. Ticks can be brought in to the Agriculture Center for identification.

More information on ticks, and preventing tick bites can be obtained by calling the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office at 732-349-1246, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the Extension Office website at http://ocean.njaes.rutgers.edu or by visiting the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org.

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