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New Exotic Tick Species Is Spreading In The US

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The next three months are going to see an increase in ticks, and a new species found in New Jersey is now in the mix.

Longhorned Ticks From East Asia Now Invading The US

New Jersey has always been a high-risk area that is home to many species of ticks, but state officials are now more worried about the invasion of a foreign species.

The exotic tick, which is native to East Asia, is new to the United States. Having survived its first winter since coming to the Hunterdon County in 2017, the tick is now spreading across New Jersey as state officials confirmed its presence in Union County.

Called the longhorned ticks, it is yet unknown if it can also transmit Lyme disease to unsuspecting humans.

"We don't know how it will behave here in New Jersey," said Andrea Egizi, a professor in Rutgers Department of Entomology.

"What we know is that it can carry disease in its native habitats so that's a concern."

Although they might not transmit Lyme infections, they can still spread a deadly virus causing severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Victims may have symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, conjunctival congestion, and lymph nodes disease among others. In serious cases, the disease may lead to death.

Longhorned ticks are also known to spread the pathogen causing the Japanese spotted fever and more.

What We Know About Longhorned Ticks

Like the common ticks found in America, these exotic ticks are also small arachnids that may be hard to detect. They may even be harder to spot as they are colored brown. If they're full of blood, though, they grow to the size of a pea.

They mainly infest animals and livestock, but they are a threat to humans as well. The population of the longhorned ticks can grow fast if left to their own devices as they can reproduce without a male. As a result, they are now a major problem in Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific Islands after coming from Korea, Japan, and China.

Although they are new to the United States, they have always been known to cling to animals and materials from other countries before the shipment is allowed to enter. It was only in August 2017 that it was first documented to be in the American lands after a sheep owner brought a sample to the county health department.

State officials further urge the public to bring in uncommon ticks to be identified.

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