BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ticks native to Maryland commonly feed on deer, but a deer found near Hagerstown was carrying a foreign invader; the Asian longhorned tick, which has made its way from Japan to Australia to the U.S.
“We found the tick initially in New Jersey about a year and a half ago,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarian Mike Radebaugh.
And in that short span of time, Maryland is now the eighth state to confirm longhorned ticks. A prolific breeder, after gorging on a blood meal, a single tick can lay between 800 and 2,000 eggs. And they attack in numbers.
“Both the nymph stage and the adult stage are very aggressive,” said Radebaugh. “And they seem to cluster and attack, if you will, livestock.”
And they can drain so much blood, they can leave an animal weak and anemic.
“So it’s scary,” Radebaugh added.
They also pose a threat to human health. In Asia, they carry a deadly disease, and they are capable of picking up diseases like lyme disease carried by native ticks.
The good news is that no ticks have tested positive yet for diseases in the United States, but all eight states are keeping longhorned ticks under careful surveillance.
For more information about the longhorned tick and its impact on animal health, you can contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health program by phone at (410) 841-5810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those seeking information about the longhorned tick on human health can contact the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases at the Maryland Department of Health by phone at (410) 767-5649 or email email@example.com.