Mayo Clinic Minute: What is the Asian longhorned tick?

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There’s a new tick in town.

The Asian longhorned tick was initially found in the

U.S. in 2017, and despite public health efforts …

“… it did spread. It is now in 11 states.”

Similar in size to the average American wood tick, the Asian longhorned tick can reproduce in large numbers.

“So she can produce hundreds and hundreds of offspring that live on a single animal, and the blood loss from the feeding on that animal can be so great, the animal can die.”

It also will bite humans. And, in other countries, has transmitted viruses and bacteria that have made people seriously ill.

“So one virus in particular that we’d be quite worried about is one called ‘severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus.’”

As of now, no harmful germs have been found in ticks collected in the U.S.

Tick bite prevention is key. Use tick repellent outdoors, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, tuck your pants into your socks, and remove any ticks from people or animals as soon as possible.

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Jason Howland

Aug. 15, 2019