CDC Warns Exotic Tick That Can Cause ‘Massive Infestations’ Is Spreading Across America

December 03, 2018 04:18 PM

Just days after the romaine lettuce recall, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning of another widespread issue.

According to a recent CDC press release, the Asian longhorned tick has been found in nine states and is spreading across the country.

Like ticks native to America, the Asian longhorned tick can spread disease, but what sets this parasite apart is its ability to lay eggs without mating. The CDC reports a female Asian longhorned tick can lay 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time without mating.

“As a result, hundreds to thousands of ticks can be found on a single animal, person, or in the environment,” the CDC says in the release.

For livestock producers where the Asian longhorned tick is from (New Zealand, Australia, etc.) an infestation of this species can deplete production by 25 percent.

“The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown,” Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said in the release. “In other parts of the world, the Asian longhorned tick can transmit many types of pathogens common in the United States. 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.”

Because of this potential threat, the CDC is encouraging everyone, especially farmers and pet owners, to regularly check themselves and animals for ticks, and to have all animals regularly treated for the pests. If you find a species of tick unknown to you, you should report it to your local department of agriculture.

The Asian longhorned tick was first found in August 2017 on a sheep in New Jersey. Today, the tick species has invaded eight more states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

To prevent the Asian longhorned tick or any other kind of tick from affecting you, the CDC recommends using approved insecticides, checking for ticks regularly, showering after being outdoors and treating outdoor gear with 0.5 percent permethrin.

If you do find a tick on your body or on the body of an animal under your care, and believe it could be a Asian longhorned tick, it is best to remove the tick as quickly as possible, put the tick in a Ziploc bag with rubbing alcohol, contact your state agriculture department and seek medical advice from a doctor and/or veterinarian.

For more information on how to prevent and treat tick bites of all kinds, please visit out guide.


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