This week health officials scared the wits out of us on the country-wide invasion of Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks that are now found in all 50 states. Now they tell us we need to be concerned about a new tick, possibly as dangerous as the deer variety, threatening to follow on the heels of the deer tick, reports News Channel 5 Network. This is the first time in 50 years a new tick species has come to the U.S.
The Asian long-horned tick has now invaded the Eastern Seaboard, causing mild concern from public health experts. The new arrival has yet to be found carrying any human diseases, but domestic American ticks are known to carry pathogens and often transmit them into people.
The long-horned ticks are considered a threat to livestock, can multiply rapidly, are hard to identify, behave like tiny vampires (sucking so much blood from a young animal that it dies), and bloat up like fat raisins. So far, the tick has only been found in seven states.
“It is an aggressive biter and frequently builds intense infestations on animals causing great stress … and blood loss,” according to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
“We know it can survive very harsh winters since it can handle those winters in other countries, and we know it has survived winters in New Jersey as well,” said Shannon Powers, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
“Ticks can be found in your own backyard, so it is essential to wear long sleeves and pants, and use insect repellent containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks and the diseases they carry,” says Dr. Rachel Levine, PA’s secretary of health. “It is also important to check yourself and your pets for ticks, as pets can bring ticks indoors.”
From the editor: Here are links to two very informative articles by Deanna Tolliver, M.S., DVM, about ticks:
“Are you ticked off by ticks?” regarding avoiding and removing ticks, and “How to avoid getting a tick-borne disease.” Both of these also contain links with even more tick-related information.