An invasive tick feeding on humans, pets, livestock and wildlife is now moving home in the United States.
The Asian Longhorned Ticks ( Haemaphysalis longicornis ) is a potential disease-bearing, blood-sucking species from East Asia.
Last year, however, this exotic pest was found in New Jersey State when it trampled on a sheep thousands of miles from home.
Since then, this brave and opportunistic explorer has been appearing across the state, including New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arkansas, Connecticut and Maryland.
It is the first invasive tick that has appeared in the US for nearly 80 years, and researchers believe it is here to stay.
A recent study suggests that the steady and furtive crawling of Asian long-horns has just begun.
"The Asian long-horned tick is a very adaptable species, especially in its eastern Asia." says lead author Ilia Rochlin, entomologist at Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology.
"The optimal habitat for ticks seems to be determined by temperate conditions ̵
And these Unfortunately, ideal conditions can be found throughout North America.
Using climate and environmental data from the home of the tick in China, Japan, and Korea, Rochlin created a statistical model that identifies similarly suitable habitats in the US and Canada.
The results show that a large part of North America is a true breeding ground for Asian longhorns with medium to high fitness.
Large regions of this continent, including the west coast and especially the east coast, have been found to boast ideal humid temperatures and subtropical deciduous forests in which these ticks thrive frequently.
"Similar to mainland China, this potential H. longicornis in North America is limited by low temperatures in the north due to drying of climatic conditions in the west and high temperatures in the south," concludes the study.
This leaves a lot of room for maneuver. Dive to North Florida and extend to the southeast of Canada; follow the Gulf Coast as far as Louisiana; inland to the Midwest and the Southeast of the US; Along the north coast of California and Oregon along and on the waterline of Washington.
The regions in which this tick could possibly settle are immense.
The results are: This tick is known to carry diseases, endangering all its food sources in North America, including goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, deer, cats, dogs , Rats, Mice, Hedgehogs, Birds, and even Humans
There is currently no evidence that the long-bred tick has transmitted disease to the US, but given its track record, expectations are not good and prompt the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a warning about the disease pronounce invasive species in the last month.
This tick carries in its homeland a severe, fever-triggering virus of the genus Phlebovirus. Incidentally, this emerging disease is closely linked to the Heartland virus in the US, which is currently being transported by the Lone Star tick.
"The introduction of a tick species that is a competent vector for a closely related virus should be a question. Public health concern requires further investigation," the study argues.
Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is livestock.
In Australia and New Zealand, where this invasive species has already set up camp, it has been found that the Asian long-horned tick carries cattle theileriose, which can lead to costly production losses and high mortality. This blood-sucking tick can even lead to dairy cow milk production dropping by up to 25 percent.
Given their small size, their versatility, and their ability to reproduce asexually, they kill thousands of eggs each time, Rochlin says that extermination from the US will be extremely difficult or even impossible.
The only thing we can really do at this stage is to watch this parasite as closely as possible.
"The main question I'm often asked is," What can you do with ticks? "- and I do not have a good answer to that, although research and monitoring are important, we urgently need a comprehensive tick control strategy and new tools to do that," says Rochlin.
was very successful in this country, but we are losing the fight against tick-borne diseases.