Asian longhorned ticks, which are known to carry a variety of pathogens, are spreading across the United States (U.S.), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nine states have reported finding the tick on a variety of hosts, including people, wildlife, domestic animals, and in environmental samples. The states include New Jersey, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The CDC said it is investigating how the fast-multiplying tick spreading could impact the U.S.
“The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown … We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations on animals, on people, and in the environment, is spreading in the United States,” Ben Beard, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said in a statement.
Health officials do not know whether the longhorned tick is capable of transmitting Lyme disease, but it has been shown in Asia to spread other serious diseases such as SFTS virus and the pathogen that causes Japanese spotted fever. In other parts of the world where the Asian longhorned tick is common, it is a serious threat to livestock. In some regions of New Zealand and Australia, this tick can reduce production in dairy cattle by 25 per cent.
Visit the CDC’S website to learn what you need to know about Asian longhorned ticks and how to protect against tickborne diseases.
Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.