Tick That Can Cause 'Massive Infestations' Now in 9 States

Asian longhorned ticks have been found on pets, livestock, and humans
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2018 10:30 AM CST
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Beware when you're wandering in the woods.   (Getty Images/gabort71)

(Newser) – Putting the word "exotic" in front of "tick" doesn't make the arachnid any more appealing, especially since one type is now proliferating across the US and bringing potential sicknesses with them. USA Today reports on a new warning from the CDC, which notes that the "fast-multiplying" Asian longhorned tick first made an appearance in August 2017 on a New Jersey sheep (one had previously been found there, in 2013 on a dog), and has since spread to at least eight other states—New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. The ticks have dug in not just on livestock, but also on pets, animals in the wild, and humans, and they've been spotted as well in environmental samples. "We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations ... is spreading in the United States," a CDC director notes.

What makes the tick particularly concerning is that a female can shoot out up to 2,000 eggs at a time without mating help from a male—meaning one person or animal can end up as an unfortunate host to thousands of ticks. An unfed Asian longhorned tick can survive for up to a year. Health officials aren't sure whether the Asian longhorned tick can spread Lyme disease, but what it can spread is bad enough. Forbes notes those sicknesses have included a trio of "nasty" viruses, including the SFTS and Heartland viruses, as well as other disease-carrying microbes, though there've been no reports yet of any of those illnesses being transmitted in the US by the tick. Livestock in particular has been affected by this critter in Australia and New Zealand, where it's been capable of reducing dairy production by 25%. (An insecticide that can give ticks "hot feet" so they fall off of you.)

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