New Tick Species Spreads in U.S. for First Time in 50 Years
An invasive tick species was found to have spread to an eighth state Tuesday, when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced one was found on a deer in Washington County, The Washington Post reported.
The tick, known as the Asian long-horned tick, scientific name Haemaphysalis longicornis, is the first new tick species to enter the U.S. in 50 years, The New York Times reported Monday.
In Asia, the species carries a disease that kills 15 percent of those infected, but no human diseases have been linked to the species in the U.S. since it was first found in New Jersey last August.
Since then, it has spread to New York, Arkansas, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and, most recently, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
"The discovery of the longhorn tick is another reminder of the importance of tick prevention for Pennsylvanians," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in the July 31 announcement that the ticks had been found in that state. "Ticks can be found in your own backyard, so it is essential to wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellant containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks and the diseases they carry. It is also important to check yourself and your pets for ticks, as pets can bring ticks indoors."
The Asian long-horned ticks have two distinctive characteristics, Live Science reported. First, females can reproduce asexually, laying as many as 2,000 eggs after feeding, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which is enough to start a new population wherever they hatch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.
Second, the ticks' large numbers mean they can suck livestock to the point of anemia, or even death.
The incident that led to the discovery of the ticks on U.S. soil bore out both of those facts.
A New Jersey woman who had been shearing her sheep came into the public health department of Hunterdon County with ticks, mostly nymphs, on her arms and legs, entomologist Tadhgh Rainey told The New York Times.
"I thought she'd have a few," Rainey said. "But she was covered in them, easily over 1,000 on her pants alone."
When Rainey drove to inspect the sheep a month later, he noticed the animal was weak from the loss of blood.
The ticks were finally correctly identified by Rutgers University entomologist Andrea Egizi, who has since tested more than 100 found in New York and New Jersey.
Egizi has screened the ticks for Lyme disease, relapsing fever, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and two varieties of erlichiosis, and none have been infected.
The Center for Disease Control has likewise tested specimens for the Powassan, Heartland and Bourbon viruses and not had any positive results.
In Asia, the ticks do spread diseases. The most dangerous is called S.F.T.S., for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, which causes blood to thin so much that it leads to internal bleeding and organ failure.
But S.F.T.S. has not spread to New Zealand and Australia, where the ticks have also been found, and health experts are currently more worried about the spread of known-disease-carrying pests like deer ticks and lone star ticks as warmer winters expand their ranges.
It is still unknown how the long-horn ticks first arrived in the U.S. The sheep patient zero had never traveled and was not kept with other animals.
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>