New types of ticks able to transmit lethal diseases spread in the US

The underside of an adult strain Haemaphysalis longicornis, commonly known as a long tick.

A new type of invasive mare, capable of transmitting several serious illnesses, is spreading in the US, which is an increasing threat to human and animal health.

The Asian long-haired tick is the first invasive trot that arrives in the United States in about 80 years. It comes from East China, Japan, the Russian Far East and the Korean Peninsula and is now also established in Australia and New Zealand.

In August of last year, she was discovered on 12-year-old Icelandic sheep in western New Jersey. Since then, the ticks have been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The species has been found in animals, livestock, wildlife and humans. There is, however, no evidence that the tick spreads pathogens of humans, domestic animals or wildlife in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, public health officials are concerned about potential Haemaphysalis longicornis spread of the disease. In other parts of the world, it is the main animal pest; his bite can cause people and animals to be seriously ill. In some parts of Australia and New Zealand, ticks can drain so much milk from dairy cattle that it will cause milk production to drop by 25 percent.

The Asia tick carries a virus that causes human hemorrhagic fever and kills up to 30 percent of its victims. Although this virus is not in the United States, it is closely associated with the Heartland virus, another life-threatening tick disease circulating in the United States. Health officials are particularly concerned about the tick's ability to adapt as a vector of this virus and other tick diseases in the United States.

Ticks "is potentially able to spread a large amount of disease," said Lyle Petersen, director of the Vector-Borne Diseases Division CDC. "We do not really know if there are diseases in the United States and, if so, to what extent, but it is very important that we quickly consider it."

A female tick can also lay hundreds of fertile eggs without mating, "resulting in a massive host attack," the CDC report said.

Diseases of mosquitoes, ticks, and flesh bites in the United States more than tripled from 2004 to 2016, according to the CDC. Increasing these vector-borne diseases has many root causes: expanding travel and business, urbanization, population growth, and rising temperatures.

Temperature warming and climate change make the environment more welcoming for ticks or mosquitoes that spread pathogens and increase the length of ticks, Petersen said.

Next week, officials from several federal agencies – including the CDC, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service and the Department of Defense – will come together to develop a national coordinated strategy to combat these diseases transmitted in the vector.

"The problems are getting worse and worse," Petersen said, pointing out that each state, except Alaska, is facing an increase in these diseases. "We're losing this battle."

Officials said they were trying to raise awareness among public health workers, health professionals and veterinarians of a potential threat of this kind. In addition to the CDC report, Petersen and CDC colleagues have published an accompanying document in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which highlighted "significant gaps" in the ability of public health systems to respond to these diseases.

Many tick-spreading diseases are inadequately reported. There are also no proven measures that could be improved to control many vector-borne diseases transmitted by a black leg or deer tick spread across at least seven human pathogens in the United States, including bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

Officials do not know when and how long a long tick arrived in the United States. Between August 2017 and September 208, 53 reports of calm occurred in the US. The states with the highest proportion of infested districts are New Jersey (33 percent), West Virginia (20 percent) and Virginia (12 percent), including Fairfax County, D.C. Using retrospective analysis, scientists believe the invasion has occurred years ago.

Tadhgh Rainey, an entomologist at the Hunterdon County Division of Health in New Jersey, discovered the ticks on August 1, 2017, when a woman who cuts her domestic Icelandic sheep arrived in the department with what she thought were mites.

Closer examination showed larval ticks. And she was covered in them.

"She had them all over her clothes, talking about her bodies over 1,000 ticks," Rainey recalls in an interview. "They were sorts I have never seen before." Rainey's assistant gave the woman a change of clothes and the health officials put their trousers in the freezer to kill the ticks.

When Rainey tried to identify the species, the woman returned about two weeks later, this time with curious adult ticks of the sheep. Rainey said she realized that it was nothing he'd ever seen before, and he visited the farm to see the animal for himself.

"I'm covered with ticks," he said. "They were recessed across the sheep, thousands in their ears, too much to count."

Andrea Egizi, a scientist at the Monmouth County-Borne Disease Laboratory at Rutgers University, identified the ticks with DNA analysis and its identity later confirmed by USDA scientists.

Rainey said the tick probably came to the United States for a big animal. This part of the state has active horses and sheep trade overseas. Affected sheep never traveled outside the country. "Or it could have come to a man who went on a natural tour of New Zealand," he said.

Health officials were able to kill all the ticks on the sheep and remove them from the property of the woman. Sheep, named Hannah, died recently from old age, Rainey said. The health department has women's trousers because "he still does not want his trousers."

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