Self-cloning super-ticks are sparking worry in some as the insects recently were linked with killing five cows by sucking their blood dry in North Carolina.
Asian longhorned ticks were first found in the U.S. in 2017. Earlier this year, an article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases noted that the first man was bitten by one of the pests in New York State.
Dr. Bobbi S. Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory in Mayo Clinic, said the finding was “extremely worrisome for several reasons,” she wrote in a commentary for the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, as reported by Arts Technica.
Although ticks are common in the U.S., the Asian longhorned species has sparked concern as females can lay eggs and reproduce without mating, as stated by the CDC. An individual animal may have thousands of ticks on it at one time.
Ticks carry multiple infections and viruses outside the U.S., but to date the ticks have not been found carrying any diseases in the country. However, bites from the ticks have made people in other countries seriously ill, according to the CDC, which has sparked concern as the ticks were found responsible for the death of five cattle.
“Ticks attack people, domestic animals and wildlife. Prevention remains the best method to deter tick-borne illnesses. Protect yourself while outdoors by wearing long clothing, wearing permethrin-treated clothing, and using DEET, picaridin, and other EPA-approved repellants. It is also good practice to shower immediately once you return home. Checking for ticks can help deter tick attachment or allow for early removal. For domestic animals, talk to your veterinarian about effective options to treat your pets and livestock for ticks,” the advisory read.
So far, Asian longhorned ticks have been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.