(Photo: NYS Health Department)
officials sound alarm as invasive tick, new to US, spreads
tick previously unknown to the United States is spreading across the eastern U.S.
with sightings in eight states this summer.
Asian or longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, has been found in
Arkansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania,
Virginia and West Virginia.
East and Central Asia, the tick was thought to have been found for the first
time in the U.S. after it was located on a farm in Hunterdon
County, New Jersey, in November, but the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory recently confirmed a
tick taken from a dog in Union County, New Jersey, in 2013 also was a
invasive species that congregates in large numbers, the longhorned tick can
cause anemia in livestock. It is known to carry several diseases that infect
hogs and cattle in Asia. So far, ticks examined in the U.S.
do not carry any infectious pathogens.
officials announced Tuesday that its first longhorned tick sighting was
confirmed July 27 in the western part of the state. The tick was found on a
white-tailed deer in Washington County, according to a news release from
the Maryland Department of Health.
August, authorities said the tick was discovered on a wild deer in Centre County, Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, a tick was found in a wooded area in the
central part of Bergen County in July during a routine collection of ticks
by the county entomologist, said Alicia D’Alessandro, a county
appearance in the region has prompted health officials to warn residents to
take precautions when they are outside.
can be found in your own backyard, so it is essential to wear long sleeves and
pants, use insect repellent containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks
and the diseases they carry," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel
Levine said. "It is also important to check yourself and your pets
for ticks, as pets can bring ticks indoors.”
confused with other tick species, including the rabbit tick, which is common in
the Eastern U.S., the species’ distinctive “horns” may not be visible without a
microscope. The Asian tick infests host animals in dense clusters of numerous
ticks. Female Asian ticks reproduce asexually, so a single tick can reproduce
and lay 2,000 eggs after feeding on a host. Cattle, pets, small mammals, birds and
humans are all potential hosts.
ticks can live nearly a year. They have been found on a variety of wild
animals, birds, pets and humans. An infestation spreads quickly in farm
experts have difficulty distinguishing among tick species, so it is important
to take precautions to protect pets, livestock and family members from becoming
a host for ticks of any kind,” Pennsylvania veterinarian David Wolfgang said.
“Scientists don’t yet know how this species will adapt to the North American
climate and animal hosts, but we know it survived New Jersey’s winter and has
infested sheep and cattle in this region.”
longhorned tick can transmit an animal disease called theileriosis to
livestock. The disease can reduce milk production in dairy cows and cause blood
loss in and the occasional death of calves. Sheep farmers can see poorer wool.
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, along with many diseases in animals. SFTS, or severe fever with
thrombocytopenia syndrome, is an emerging infectious disease that can be fatal.
entomologist says there should be no more or less concerns about this tick than
any other," D’Alessandro, of Bergen County, said. "The basic
precautions should be followed."
Jersey officials have been on the lookout for the species since it was
identified last fall. How it got on the Hunterdon County sheep is unclear since
the sheep had never been out of the country and had been grazing alone for
steps to protect yourself, your children and pets against ticks is the best way
to prevent tick bites and tickborne diseases," New York
state Health CommissionerHoward Zucker said.
will continue to conduct surveillance and research on this new type of tick,
but it is encouraging that the same steps that protect against deer ticks are
also effective against the longhorned tick.”
longhorned tick was found in multiple locations in Westchester County, New
York, in July, the state health department said.
identified in New York by the Health Department in conjunction with researchers
at Fordham University and the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center of New York
some safety tips from the New York State Department of Health:
· Wear long
pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects.
· Check for
ticks often while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach.
· Perform a
full body check multiple times during the day.
use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535, following label
· If you
have been bitten by a tick of any kind, contact your health care provider
immediately if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms.