If you have been keeping up with tick-related news during the past few years, then you have most certainly heard about the invasive tick species that was found on a New Jersey farm last year. The tick is known as the Asian longhorned tick, and it is native to Korea, China and Japan. Back in 2013, experts found the tick on a dog within a New Jersey farm, and last year, one was found on a sheep in the state. Initially, American experts could not identify the tick species, but eventually it became clear that America had a new tick species to deal with. Although the tick was known to bite livestock, dogs, cats and many other animals, experts were initially unsure as to whether or not the tick could be harmful to humans. To this day, experts are still not sure how humans will respond to bites from these ticks, as no American had ever sustained a bite from one before. Sadly, just recently this all changed, as a twelve year old girl from New Jersey recently sustained a bite from this tick.
The young victim of the tick bite is not yet being named, but experts believe that she is the first person in America to sustain a bite from the invasive longhorned tick. Researchers are monitoring the girl closely to see if she has contracted any diseases that could spread to the larger community. Earlier this month, the girl’s mother noticed a tick on her daughter’s stomach, so she took her to a neighbor who offers community education on ticks. The neighbor examined the tick species carefully, but he was unable to successfully identify the creature. In an effort to identify the tick, the man sent the specimen to a lab in Colorado. The man also wanted to know if the tick was carrying any pathogens that could cause a bite victim to fall ill. In Asian countries the longhorned tick can cause a few different diseases. Luckily, the lab concluded that the tick was not carrying any known pathogens, but that does not mean that the longhorned tick cannot pick up new pathogens in the United States. Soon, we could possibly see an entirely new tick-borne disease in America, but only time will tell.
Do you think that the Asian longhorned tick will prove to be dangerous to the American population?