Nov 30, 2018

CDC Warns of Exotic Tick Spreading Across the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday that the Asian longhorned tick—a species that mysteriously traveled thousands of miles across the globe before it was discovered in the fur of a New Jersey sheep in 2017—has now spread to nine states on the eastern half of the country. As The Daily Beast previously reported, scientists aren't yet sure if the tick is capable of transmitting Lyme disease—but they do know that it transmits severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a phlebovirus that kills 15 percent of the humans it infects. The CDC notes in its press release that no infections of any kind that can be linked to the tick have yet been found in Americans. The ticks were found in New Jersey (16 ticks), Virginia (15), West Virginia (11), New York (3), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (2), Connecticut (1), and Maryland (1), and Arkansas (1), between August 2017 and September 2018.

CDC full article:

The biology and ecology of H. longicornis as an exotic species in the United States should be characterized in terms of its vector competence (ability to transmit a pathogen) and vectorial capacity (feeding habits, host preference, climatic sensitivity, population density, and other factors that can affect the risk for pathogen transmission to humans) for tickborne pathogens known to be present in the United States (5). Surveillance for H. longicornis should include adequate sampling of companion animals, commercial animals, wildlife, and the environment. Where H. longicornis is detected, there should be testing for a range of indigenous and exotic viral, bacterial, and protozoan tickborne pathogens potentially transmitted by H. longicornis. Given the similarity between SFTSV and Heartland virus, a tickborne phlebovirus (