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New tick species in US: Asian longhorned tick, capable of spreading disease, now in 9 states – AL.com

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning about a possible threat posed by the spread of a tick species that’s new to the U.S.

The Asian longhorned tick has been reported in several states since its discovery in the U.S. in 2017, the CDC said Thursday. The tick has been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia on pets, lifestock, wildlife and two humans.

Other countries have reported people and animals becoming seriously ill from Asian longhorned tick bites. No harmful germs have been found yet in ticks collected in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC is urging caution, however.

“The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown,” said Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “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.”

The tick can spread quickly – females can reproduce without mating and are capable of laying as many as 2,000 eggs at a time.

The CDC said it is currently investigating the distribution of the tick in the U.S. and the potential for disease associated with it.

What to do if you think you’ve found an Asian longhorned tick?

Remove any tick from people and animals as quickly as possible.

Save the ticks in rubbing alcohol in a jar or a ziplock bag, then:

Contact your health department about steps you can take to prevent tick bites and tickborne diseases.

Contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect pets from ticks and tick bites.

Contact your state agriculture department or local agricultural extension office about ticks on livestock or for tick identification.

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