New Emerging Potential Threat To Public Health – The Asian Longhorned Tick

The Asian longhorned tick, also known as the Haemaphysalis Longicornis, is native to eastern Asia. They are known to transmit potentially fatal diseases to humans. In Australia and New Zealand, they threaten and are an invasive livestock pest. They reproduce asexually. A single female can produce many offspring (1,000 – 2,000 eggs at a time) without mating and fertilization. This allows for the rapid growth of these potentially dangerous ticks which can result in hundreds to thousands of ticks being found on a single person or pet. The Asian longhorned tick is considered “a new and emerging disease threat” in the US according to the CDC ‘s Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

Reported Findings

The first finding of the Asian longhorned tick was discovered in 2013 in Union County, NJ when the tick was found on a dog. At that time it was mistaken for a rabbit tick. Years later in 2017, the tick was first identified when a Hunterdon County resident discovered that a pet sheep was infested with them. In April of 2018 researchers determined that the ticks had survived the entire winter in New Jersey. Since April of 2018, an additional 53 cases have emerged in the eastern states including 2 from humans, 23 from domestic animals and 13 from wildlife. 15 more were found in samplings of grass and vegetation.

The new findings of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick have brought light to an emerging new public health threat. Much information is still unknown. Researchers are working hard to determine what the full danger of the Asian longhorned tick is in the US. A group of scientists including the Rutger’s Center for Vector Biology is now collaborating to determine how widespread these ticks have become in North America. Along with New Jersey, the ticks have been found in several eastern states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Maryland.

To date no US cases of human disease have been reported; however, it is a known vector-borne disease-causing hemorrhagic fever in humans. This tick-borne disease can quickly bring on severe hemorrhagic fever accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia. In some cases, multiple organ failure can result. The tick is also known to spread a virus known as Japanese Spotted Fever. This virus causes a high fever and red rash and can be potentially fatal as well.

Appearance

Electron microscopic images are being scanned to differentiate these ticks from its two nearly identical native species. The Asian longhorned tick highly resembles the bird tick and the rabbit tick. The only apparent difference between the three is that the bird and rabbit ticks are rarely a threat to humans. Through detailed scanning and observation, researchers have learned that the adult Asian longhorned mouth has two triangular hornlike spurs, unlike the bird and rabbit tick.

Prevention

Health officials on the federal, state and local levels have been made aware of this potential public health threat. These agencies are evaluating different intervention options as well as Increasing awareness to the public which is a must.

At NJ Pest Control we can help to prevent the spread of ticks on your property as well as the spread of their tick-borne diseases. Let us help protect you and your loved ones today. Protection is key! Contact the expert professional pest control company located in Randolph, Morris County, NJ. We service residential, industrial and commercial properties all across northern New Jersey.

Contact the Northern NJ Professionals at NJPest Control.