Tick-borne diseases on the rise in Monmouth County

Vicki Thompson and Bob Jordan of the Monmouth County Health Department talk about monitoring ticks. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

WALL TOWNSHIP — State health officials are warning residents to increase their vigilance for ticks, which are transmitting increasing numbers of serious illnesses across New Jersey.

“New Jersey is in the top fifth of states where you see these diseases,” Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the state Department of Health, said. “Last year, there were more than 5,000 cases [of Lyme disease] in the state, and 500 of those were in Monmouth County.”

That’s a big increase from 2007, when there were only 280 confirmed cases in Monmouth County.

Dr. Elnahal traveled to Shark River County Park on Thursday, Sept. 6, to talk about the state’s “Don’t let a tick make you sick” campaign.

Fall is not the time to forget about ticks, which can be active on warm days any time of the year, the health officials warned. Going apple or pumpkin picking? Check for ticks. Raking leaves? Check for ticks. Bringing a Christmas tree into the house? Check for ticks.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.