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New Tick Species Raises Concerns

By Chris Williams on April 1, 2019.

When I first heard about a new invasive tick species, the Asian Long-horned tick, I have to admit I thought maybe it was fake news! Now, I’ve been following the news about the Asian Long-horned beetle for many years, and it is a devastating forest pest.  The presence of ALB has resulted in the destruction ofthousands of trees in an attempt to eradicate it in several quarantine zones throughout the country.  This new tick species is in fact real (Haemaphysalis longicornis). It is a member of the Ixodidae family of ‘hard’ ticks which includes two very common species, the American dog tick and black legged tick.

Underside of adult and nymph Asian Longhorned Tick. Image from CDC.gov

According to the CDC, its’ range is expanding rapidly, and it can now be found in nine states.  Currently, Connecticut is the only New England state where Asian long-horned tick has been detected thus far.  They’ve been found on pets, livestock and people according to the CDC bulletin.  As of this point, no harmful pathogens have been found in the ticks collected and therefore no disease transmission has occurred due to bites from this tick. There is the concern that these ticks could eventually become carriers of pathogens such as Borrelia (Lyme disease agent) Anaplasma, Erlichia, Rickettsia, and Babesia.  Further investigation is needed to determine if any related species of these pathogens are transmitted by the tick in its native Asian range.  Stay tuned!

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