CDC Warns of Rapid Spread of Invasive Asian ‘Cow-Killing’ Tick across America

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a warning about the rapid spread of the Asian longhorned tick, which poses a serious threat to livestock. Since its identification in 2017, the tick has spread to 19 U.S. states, according to the USDA. Researchers at Ohio State University have reported that the ticks have caused the death of two cows and a large bull due to exsanguination, or blood loss. Each cow likely endured tens of thousands of tick bites.

Despite being the size of a sesame seed, these ticks have the potential to form massive colonies in a short amount of time. Researchers in Ohio collected nearly 10,000 ticks in just 90 minutes in a 25-acre pasture, estimating the total population to exceed 1,000,000 ticks. This species of tick has unique population potential, with females capable of laying 2,000 eggs at a time without the need for mating.

The rapid reproduction of these ticks raises concerns about the spread of diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the presence of the Asian longhorned tick on both animals and humans, but it seems to prefer animal hosts. While the tick is unlikely to contribute to the spread of Lyme disease, it has the ability to carry and spread certain diseases.

It is worth noting that in Australia and New Zealand, where the Asian longhorned tick is invasive, there is no risk of human illness. However, research is ongoing in the U.S. to understand the tick’s overall risk to both livestock and people. The presence of the Asian longhorned tick has been reported in 19 states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Overall, the potential impact of the Asian longhorned tick in the U.S. is a cause for concern, and ongoing research is crucial to understand the risks posed by this invasive species. This article originally appeared on The Western Journal.


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