Invasive Asian Longhorned Ticks Responsible for Cattle Deaths in Ohio, Spread Predicted Across State, US

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Updated: 2:48 AM, Sun November 19, 2023

An invasive species of tick known as the Asian longhorned tick has been rapidly spreading across Ohio, posing a significant threat to livestock. Researchers from The Ohio State University have found that these ticks, which initially arrived in 2021, are responsible for the deaths of three cattle due to severe blood loss.

The scientists at Ohio State University are now focusing their efforts on monitoring and managing these pests. Unfortunately, they predict that the ticks will soon spread to every corner of Ohio, creating a long-term management problem. Risa Pesapane, senior author of the research, emphasizes that there is no getting rid of them completely.

The good news is that most existing tick control agents seem to effectively kill the Asian longhorned ticks. However, managing their population is challenging due to their sheer numbers and ability to bounce back easily.

Originating from East Asia, the Asian longhorned tick was first confirmed in the United States back in 2017. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that these ticks might have been present as early as 2010. As of September 2023, the USDA has reported confirmations of these ticks in 18 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, and New York.

Unlike native ticks, the Asian longhorned ticks tend to gather in large numbers, with thousands often found in grass, shrubs, or on animals. What makes them particularly concerning is their unique ability to reproduce asexually, making exponential population growth possible. Each female tick can lay up to 2,000 eggs, and all offspring can reproduce in the same manner.

While the Asian longhorned ticks appear to be less attracted to humans than other tick species, they show a preference for livestock and wildlife. Cattle, deer, horses, goats, opossums, raccoons, and mice are among the animals that these ticks favor. Additionally, the ticks have been found on birds such as owls and hawks.

In Ohio, the first Asian longhorned tick was discovered on a stray dog on a farm in Gallia County in 2020. Further investigation revealed an alarming estimate of over 1 million ticks in a 25-acre pasture, as nearly 10,000 ticks were collected in a short period from the infested farm.

Researchers in Ohio have also identified the tick-borne illness Anaplasma phagocytophilum in a small number of these ticks. This illness can cause diseases in animals and humans. Furthermore, the ticks have been linked to cases of bovine theileriosis, a disease caused by a pathogen carried by the ticks.

In contrast to some other tick species, a recent study has shown that the Asian longhorned tick is not likely to contribute to the spread of Lyme disease in the United States.

The invasion of Asian longhorned ticks in Ohio is a significant concern for the agricultural community. The researchers at The Ohio State University are working diligently to manage the situation, but the widespread presence of these ticks throughout the state presents a long-term challenge. Efforts to control their population and mitigate the risks associated with their presence continue as scientists strive to protect Ohio’s livestock and public health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the Asian longhorned tick?

The Asian longhorned tick is an invasive species of tick native to East Asia. It was first confirmed in the United States in 2017 and has since spread to at least 18 states, including Ohio.

What threat do Asian longhorned ticks pose to livestock?

Asian longhorned ticks pose a significant threat to livestock, particularly cattle. They can cause severe blood loss in animals, leading to their death. These ticks also carry diseases that can affect both animals and humans.

How are researchers in Ohio addressing the spread of Asian longhorned ticks?

Researchers at The Ohio State University are conducting research focused on monitoring and managing the tick population. However, they have warned that complete eradication of these ticks is not feasible due to their large numbers and reproductive abilities.

Can Asian longhorned ticks transmit diseases to humans?

Yes, Asian longhorned ticks can transmit diseases to both animals and humans. In Ohio, the ticks have been found to carry the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which can cause diseases in animals and humans. Cases of bovine theileriosis, caused by a pathogen carried by these ticks, have also been reported.

What should I do if I find an Asian longhorned tick?

If you find an Asian longhorned tick on yourself, another person, or an animal, it is crucial to remove it promptly. Contact your local health department or veterinarian for further guidance.

Should livestock owners be concerned about Asian longhorned ticks?

Yes, livestock owners should be concerned about the impacts of Asian longhorned ticks. These ticks prefer livestock, including cattle, and can cause severe blood loss in animals. Livestock owners should reach out to their state or local agriculture office for assistance and guidance.

Can Asian longhorned ticks contribute to the transmission of Lyme disease?

No, a recent study by the CDC found that the Asian longhorned tick is unlikely to contribute to the transmission of Lyme disease in the United States.

What can be done to minimize the impact of Asian longhorned ticks on animal and human health?

It is important for the public, livestock owners, and authorities to stay vigilant and implement preventive measures. Prompt removal of ticks, contacting local health departments or veterinarians, and following agricultural office guidance can help minimize the impact of these ticks on both animal and human health.

Is there a prediction for the spread of Asian longhorned ticks in Ohio?

Yes, researchers have predicted that Asian longhorned ticks will likely spread throughout the state of Ohio and become a long-term management problem. The ticks have already been rapidly spreading and causing the death of cattle due to severe blood loss.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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