New Aggressive Biting Tick Species Spotted in Several U.S. States

James Gathany/CDC

A new invasive and aggressive biting tick species has been spreading rapidly across the Eastern United States. It was first documented by the NJ Department of Agriculture after being found on a sheep last year.

The longhorned tick, or Haemaphysalis Longicornis, is generally found in Asia, but officials have said it has spread to New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

This is a very aggressive biting tick that has been known to suck so much blood from livestock it can cause anemia, even death.

The longhorned tick is considered invasive because a single female can lay over one thousand eggs.

It has also been known to carry pathogens such as Lyme Disease as well as phlebovirus, which causes fever, and thrombocytopenia syndrome, which reduces platelets in the blood and has a 15% mortality rate. Phlebovirus, however, has not yet been linked to longhorned ticks found in the United States or Australia and New Zealand, which also have longhorned ticks.

Health officials are recommending that people working around livestock or traversing known tick habitats be vigilant for the presence of ticks.