Asian Longhorned Tick is at Home in the US
- This invasive tick, haemaphysalis Longicornis, was first discovered in New Jersey in 2017. But further information has surfaced and it is now believed this tick has been here since about 2010. It prefers cows, horses and sheep as hosts, but will also bite humans. Additionally, it has been found on birds, opossum, deer and raccoons, so it will travel to more locations aboard wildlife. During three life stages the Longhorn Tick will find a meal host, feed, and drop off. Scientists have confirmed this tick carries babesiosis, and can kill small animals if allowed to reproduce in large numbers through anemia. And reproduce it can; not only by mating, but also without the presence of a male in a self cloning manner! Therefore if these ticks are found on your animals, they can multiply much quicker than other varieties. Although not widely studied, they have been found to carry anaplasma phagocytophilum, ehrlichia, babeosis, and Powassan Virus. In China they are thought to be a vector of a newly emerging disease called Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus which has a high mortality rate for people.
Currently, it is believed these ticks are more widespread in the US than previously suspected. Not only has it been found throughout New Jersey, but it is also in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia on various species of domestic animals and wildlife, and humans. Because they are known to have overwintered in New Jersey where winters can be quite cold, scientists are evaluating its spread into the northeast. It has been found in a region of Russia that has a climate similar to the Northeastern US. Because there is so much unknown about this tick, scientists are asking that if you find one you send it to your nearest lab for evaluation. Cornell in New York State and Rutgers in New Jersey are both very interested to see where these ticks are found, as is the Center for Disease Control. If you find one of these ticks, you can preserve it in rubbing alcohol and send it to: neregionalvectorcenter.com/ticks.