Since that time, 45 counties in New Jersey and eight other states — Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — have reported finding the invasive tick species, according to the CDC. The tick species also has been known to inhabit Hawaii and other Pacific islands.
In other parts of the world where the Asian longhorned tick is common, it has been a serious threat to livestock, reducing production in dairy cattle by 25 percent in some regions of New Zealand and Australia, the agency said in a news release. Pathogens found in these ticks in other parts of the world, also endemic to the United States, include Borrelia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia and Babesia, according to the CDC — though no harmful germs have been found in the Asian longhorned ticks found so far in the United States.
While the ticks have mostly been concentrated on the East Coast, Arkansas isn’t that far from Kansas, and it would still be a good idea to keep an eye out for longhorned ticks and other species of tick, most notably the deer tick and American dog tick in this region.
The deer tick is a host for Lyme disease, while American dog ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and can cause tick paralysis. Ticks removed from people should be saved in a vial with alcohol and labeled with the date. If flu-like symptoms — including, headache, skin rash, and fever — occur 10 to 14 days after tick removal, see a physician immediately and take the tick with you or send it to the K-State Research and Extension office.
And don’t assume that you won’t get any ticks on you because it’s cold outside, as many ticks remain active throughout the winter. I once saw a small, plastic kiddie pool filled with partially frozen water and about 50 ticks in it, so I’ve seen firsthand that they don’t mind the cold the way other insects do.
The CDC recommends hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts:
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone
• Treat their clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin
• Check their body and clothing for ticks upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, using a handheld or full-length mirror to view all parts of their body
• Shower soon after being outdoors
• Talk to their veterinarian about tickborne diseases in their area and prevention products for their dog