Blood-sucking tick denied entry

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A mum who spotted a blood-thirsty tick embedded in her daughter’s shoulder at Auckland airport did the right thing by alerting biosecurity officials, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The five-year-old girl arrived at Auckland with her family from Norfolk Island on Monday.

“The mum saw the tick in the arrivals area and declared it to one of our quarantine officers,” says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Northern Border Clearance Manager, Passengers and Mail.

“It was having a good chomp on her shoulder, so they allowed an officer to remove it in our lab with sterilised tweezers.

“It took a little time to get all the tick parts out of the young girl’s skin, but she was very brave.”

The tick was later identified as one already found in New Zealand, Australia and parts of Asia (Haemaphysalis longicornis).

“We’re rapt the family declared the tick. Ticks like this can carry diseases dangerous to New Zealand livestock, pets or humans,” says Hughes.

MPI has advised health authorities of the incident.

Please note that this border interception was made by Ministry for Primary Industries staff, not NZ Customs.


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