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Asian longhorned tick found in Tennessee

The tick has caused illness in other countries.
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Posted at 4:15 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 17:42:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Asian longhorned tick has been detected in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) announced today.

While bites from the Asian longhorned tick have been known to make people and animals seriously ill in other countries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there is no evidence that the tick has transmitted any harmful pathogens to anybody in the United States. Research into that is ongoing.

The Asian longhorned tick has now spread to 11 states, comrpising, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

In Tennessee, two of the ticks were recently found on a dog in Union County, while five were found on a cow in Roane County. The tick has been reported on 17 different mammal species throughout the U.S.

"Tennessee has a relatively large amount and variety of ticks," Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. "It is important to be diligent and keep an eye out for all ticks because many varieties can transmit pathogens or cause painful bites."

Below is a list of tips from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to prevent tick bites in animals and livestock:

  • Coordinate with your veterinarian to determine appropriate pest prevention for pets and livestock.
  • Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.
  • Remove any ticks by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers.
  • Monitor your pets and livestock for any changes in health.

Should your animals be bitten by a tick, Dr. Fryxell suggests putting the tick in a ziplock bag, writing down the date and where the tick was most likely encountered and then storing it in a freezer. If any symptoms of a tick-borne disease begin to develop, bring the tick to your veterinarian.

For more information on the Asian longhorned tick in the United States, head to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website or the CDC's web page on the longhorned tick. For more information on tick-borne diseases, head to the CDC's web page on that topic.