Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement announcing that the Asian Longhorned Tick population has spread across the country. The tick, which is not typically found in the Western Hemisphere, was first reported on a sheep back in 2017 in the state of New Jersey. Today, a total of nine states have reported finding this tick. The CDC reports that a single female tick can reproduce offspring without mating.
The Asian Longhorned Tick has been discovered on livestock, pets, wildlife, and people. The tick is known to spread pathogens in other countries, and is a major threat to livestock such as cattle in New Zealand and Australia. They suggest that if you think you have found the tick, to remove it as soon as possible from the animal or person and keep it in rubbing alcohol in a jar or ziplock bag, and to contact your state agriculture department for tick identification. A complete CDC fact sheet with more information can be found here.
The CDC is still investigating the impact and threat of the Asian Longhorned Tick spread. They recommend individuals take several steps to prevent against tick bites, such as:
- Using EPA-approved insect repellants containing substances like DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus (more information about these repellants can be found here)
- Wearing permethrin-treated clothing and gear
- Checking your body for ticks when returning from areas where ticks may be present
- Showering within two hours after being outdoors to help reduce the risk of tickborne diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, November 29). Asian Longhorned Tick Spreading Widely in U.S. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p1129-tick-spreading-widely.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (N.d.). What you need to know about Asian longhorned ticks—a new tick in the United States [PDF]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/pdfs/AsianLonghornedTick-P.pdf