PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a disease threat that is posed by an exotic tick which is spreading widely in the United States. The Asian longhorned tick has been reported in nine states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The CDC is working with federal, state and local experts to better understand the potential impact of the Asian longhorned tick. New Jersey was the first state to report the tick which was found on a sheep in August 2017. Since then, Pennsylvania, New York, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have all reported finding the tick on people, wildlife, domestic animals and environmental samples.
“The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown,” said Dr. Ben Beard, 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 CDC says a single female tick can produce up to 2,000 eggs at a time without mating.
“As a result, hundreds to thousands of ticks can be found on a single animal, person, or in the environment,” the CDC says in a statement.
The CDC is hoping to limit the spread of tickborne diseases.
The Asian longhorned tick is a serious threat to livestock in other parts of the world where it is most common. In New Zealand and Australia, this type of tick can reduce production in dairy cattle by 25 percent.