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.
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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