Being the first in 50 years to reach the ‘land of the free’, a new tick species commonly named the Asian long-horned tick brings along fears of dangerous diseases from Asia. Haemaphysalis longicornis, as it is called by scientists, was reported on the East Coast and apparently it is spreading quickly.
What are the risks?
Found already in 7 states and in the crowded suburbs of New York, this tick has raised concerns in the public health department, although nobody is panicking. American ticks are already a problem as they are known to carry many pathogens. This new invader hasn’t been linked yet with any diseases in the States. However, back in Asia it is held responsible for transmitting a virus that took the life of 15% of its victims.
The main concern right now is how it is going to affect the animals. Spread across New Zealand and Australia, the tick – known there as bush or cattle ticks – is able of quickly multiplying and it can suck so much blood from animals that it can kill them.
How are they reproducing?
They suck away until they resemble raisins and their tiny legs can’t hold them. After such a feast, a female can lay hundreds of eggs without even mating so they can quickly infest a place.
First found in New Jersey sometime last summer, it appears that this summer it managed to find a way to reach different counties in New Jersey and New York. Also there were sightings in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
They apparently focus mainly on animals. At least for now because it is not very clear how many people were its victims. The best way to protect yourself would be to treat it as a regular tick. This means to use repellents and check yourself after each walk in the park.