Tick Time Bomb

May 10, 2017
Courtesy of: Donna Zalepa This is a deer tick the letter writer found in Loveladies.

To the Editor:

As a year-round resident of Long Beach Township and a certified Ocean County master gardener, I would like to let residents know there are deer ticks, better known as blacklegged ticks, on the Island.

One of my pets came in with an engorged deer tick she picked up in Loveladies. Since I volunteer in the Ocean County Tick Lab, located at 1623 Whitesville Rd. in Toms River, I brought the tick in and identified it as a deer tick. This is the second deer tick in the past few months I have found.

Although we do not have deer on the Island, the deer tick can possibly carry Lyme borreliosis, an infectious disease caused by a bacteria from the host, the white-footed mouse. Most people seem to believe deer are the problem, but the white-footed mouse carries the bacteria that infects the deer tick and in turn can infect us.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First, we should support the local feral cat program run by the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter since our Island feral cats help reduce the mice population. Secondly, people should be aware, in the event they find a tick on themselves or their pet, that they can bring the tick into the Ocean County Tick Lab to have it identified at no charge. Furthermore, residents might want to consider inoculating their pets for Lyme disease as well, so please speak with your veterinarian. 

Donna Zalepa

Long Beach Township

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