An Asian tick species capable of transmitting deadly diseases to humans is exploding and spreading to eight states just one year after its first appearance in the United States, warns the Centers for Disease Control.
The Asian Longhorn was seen only in laboratories and quarantines in the USA until " thousands of them " emerged on a pet sheep in New Jersey last year. Because males without mating can produce progeny – up to 2,000 eggs at a time – a single Asian longhorned ticks can quickly turn into an infestation.
The ticks have been found twice this year in humans as well as in six native and six animal species. Although it is believed that none of the known hosts were infected as a result of dangerous pathogens, the CDC acknowledges that new laboratory tests may be needed to detect any disease that the species can spread. Asian long-horned ticks are notorious as a vector for dangerous diseases in their Asian homeland, including Japanese typhus and a virus that causes hemorrhagic fever that kills 30 percent of its victims. "warned Ben Beard, Deputy Director of the Department of Vectorborne Diseases, of the CDC. Tick-borne diseases are already under-imposed, and it is not known how long this species was in the country before it was discovered on the sheep – or how it came here.
The CDC wants to prevent the invasion from getting out of hand with a wide range of interventions and states have already begun to test specimens to see if they are members of the new species. This is the first time that an invasive species of ticks has been breaking the US quarantine for nearly 80 years – before Asian long-handled ticks were successfully intercepted at ports of entry at least 15 times and used imported animals and materials. [19659006
Since 2004, the disease transmitted by ticks has tripled. This is clear from another CDC report released earlier this year. The agency networks with agricultural and veterinary scientists as well as the federal government, state and local experts to curb the threat. Representatives of the CDC plan to meet representatives of other federal agencies next week to try to develop a national strategy to combat these diseases.
" The problems are getting worse ," said Lyle Petersen, director of The CDC Department of Vector-Driven Diseases, told The Washington Post. " We lose this battle ."
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