Invasive Tick Spreads to Ninth State, CDC Warns of 'New and Emerging Disease Threat'
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of a "multistate infestation" with the Asian longhorned tick—the first new tick species to enter the U.S. in 50 years.
New Jersey was the first state to report the Haemaphysalis longicornis on a sheep in August 2017. Since then, it has been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to Friday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
"The presence of H. longicornis in the United States represents a new and emerging disease threat," the report said.
The ticks were reported from 45 counties in nine states from August 2017 to September 2018.CDC
As EcoWatch previously mentioned, 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.
The CDC is currently working with public health, agricultural and academic experts to understand the possible threat posed by the insect.
"The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown," said Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in a press release. "In other parts of the world, the Asian longhorned tick can transmit many types of pathogens common in the United States. We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations on animals, on people, and in the environment, is spreading in the United States."
LiveScience further reported:
"In other parts of the world, longhorned ticks are known to spread diseases, including the bacterial infections babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, theileriosis and rickettsiosis, as well as certain viral diseases. In China and Japan, the longhorned tick transmits a disease called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS), which can be deadly."
The Asian longhorned tick is new to the United States and has the potential to spread germs. People should take ste… https://t.co/P34DHHTsTa— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@Dr. Robert R. Redfield)1543591201.0
Unlike most tick species, a single female Asian longhorned tick can reproduce offspring without mating and lay up to 2,000 eggs at a time.
This means hundreds to thousands of ticks can be found on a single animal, person or in the environment, the CDC said.
Earlier this month, the CDC reported that in 2017, state and local health departments reported a record number of tickborne illnesses like Lyme disease.
"Tick-borne diseases like Lyme hit an all-time high this year, just as a new tick capable of spreading disease rears its ugly head," Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted Friday in reaction to the report. "It's clear, urgent federal action is needed to fight the debilitating & growing public health threat of tick-borne diseases."
Tick-borne diseases like Lyme hit an all-time high this year, just as a new tick capable of spreading disease rears… https://t.co/U536hH5A5d— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal)1543594213.0
You can protect yourself from tick-borne diseases by using insect repellents, wearing protective gear and clothing, checking your body and clothing for ticks after returning from potentially tick-infested areas and showering soon after being outdoors, the CDC advises.
The CDC also advised livestock producers and pet owners to work with their veterinarians to maintain regular tick prevention and report any unknown tick species to their local department of agriculture.
Here's the agency's advice on what you should do if you think you have found an Asian longhorned tick:
- Remove any tick from people and animals as quickly as possible.
- Save the ticks in rubbing alcohol in a jar or a ziplock bag, then:
- Contact your health department about steps you can take to prevent tick bites and tickborne diseases.
- Contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect pets from ticks and tick bites.
- Contact your state agriculture department or local agricultural extension office about ticks on livestock or for tick identification.
Longhorned tick. Nymph and adult female, undersideCDC
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Scant Climate Benefits<p><a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab9335/meta" target="_blank">My recent research</a> suggests that for a system large enough to displace a lot of fossil natural gas, RNG is probably not as good for the climate as <a href="https://investor.southerncompany.com/information-for-investors/latest-news/latest-news-releases/press-release-details/2020/Southern-Company-Gas-grows-leadership-team-to-focus-on-climate-action-innovation-and-renewable-natural-gas-strategy/default.aspx" target="_blank">is publicly claimed</a>. Although RNG has lower climate impact than its fossil counterpart, likely high demand and methane leakage mean that it probably will contribute to climate change. In contrast, renewable sources such as wind and solar energy do not <a href="https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/" target="_blank">emit climate pollution directly</a>.</p><p>What's more, creating a large RNG system would require building mostly new production infrastructure, since RNG comes from different sources than fossil natural gas. Such investments are both long-term commitments and opportunity costs. They would devote money, political will and infrastructure investments to RNG instead of alternatives that could achieve a zero greenhouse gas emission goal.</p><p>When climate change first <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/24/us/global-warming-has-begun-expert-tells-senate.html" target="_blank">broke into the political conversation</a> in the late 1980s, investing in long-lived systems with low but non-zero greenhouse gas emissions was still compatible with aggressive climate goals. Now, zero greenhouse gas emissions is the target, and my research suggests that large deployments of RNG likely won't meet that goal.</p>
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