The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that a new species of tick is now loose in the US, native to parts of Asia, and is capable of spreading dangerous diseases to both humans and other animals.
According to a weekly report released by the CDC on Thursday, the new tick is an arachnid that is indigenous to eastern Asia and Korea, identified as the “Asian Longhorn Tick” or by its scientific name of Haemaphysalis longicornis.
Thus far, the Asian Longhorn tick has been found in several eastern and southeastern US states. It was first identified outside of a lab in New Jersey in August 2017, and was the first detection of the arachnid in the US outside of quarantine, according to the CDC report. Since that time, the tick has been found on both humans and six species of domestic animals and six species of wildlife. The tick has been found in eight eastern states, as well as to the south in Arkansas, bringing the total number of infected states to nine.
The infected states include: New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and Arkansas.
The CDC has announced that in order to forestall adverse consequences in humans, livestock, wildlife and pets – critical actions are indicated. These include expanded surveillance to determine the evolving distribution of the arachnids, as well as, a means of detecting the pathogens that these ticks currently harbor. Further, they need to determine the capacity for the ticks to serve as a vector, which could spread a range of potential pathogens. Lastly, a thorough evaluation is needed to determine effective agents and methods for controlling the ticks.
One of the most common disease outcomes resulting from a bite from the Asian Longhorn tick is hemorrhagic fever. It also can cause a reduction in the milk production of dairy cattle by 25 percent.
Thus far, there have been no reported illnesses in humans, but authorities are still assessing the threat and potential for these arachnids to spread disease.