(TRENTON) – New Jersey is especially conducive to dangerous, disease-carrying ticks because of the state’s climate, woodlands and large agricultural sector. Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, however, have taken action to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases, as they introduced legislation on Thursday to authorize the state and county mosquito control commissions to create and implement measures to control the tick population.
“New Jersey has the third most tick-borne disease cases in the entire United States, yet we have never taken any action to curb the spread of these diseases through controlling the tick population,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “Diseases stemming from tick bites can be incredibly dangerous—and in rare cases, fatal—and we must put forth every effort to prevent the spread of these diseases in order to protect our residents.”
Under current law, no statewide or countywide measures have been taken to control the tick population.
“New Jersey saw the most reported cases of Lyme disease in 2017 in nearly twenty years,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Ticks may be small, but the threat they pose to the health of our communities can be mammoth. This is a problem we must tackle head-on for the safety of all New Jerseyans.”
This bill would have the state and county mosquito control commissions use their existing revenue-raising powers to finance any tick control measures they deem appropriate.
Ticks are known to transmit a wide variety of diseases to humans, including Lyme disease, Powassan disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and others, as well as transmit diseases to household pets.
Additionally, New Jersey’s proximity to major ports such as New York City and Philadelphia make the state susceptible to invasive species such as the East Asian Tick, which was recently spotted in Hunterdon County and is known to spread severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a potentially life-threatening disease.