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Asian Tick Appears In NH

Jennifer Smith

Posted on November 13 2018

New Hampshire agricultural officials are seeking to raise awareness about a species of tick that made its first appearance in the state recently.

The Asian longhorned tick, which is native to East and Central Asia, was confirmed to have been on a dog visiting the Granite State from New York, according to a N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food news release last week. The tick was discovered by a “particularly observant” resident and then submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory for examination, according to the release. The laboratory confirmed the identification.

“We have no evidence that the tick is established here, and based on the reporting associated with this find, it is unlikely that this specific incident will result in an established population,” State Veterinarian Stephen K. Crawford said in an email.

The interception of the tick isn’t an emergency; rather, he said, it provides an opportunity to educate New Hampshire residents about it.

“There is no evidence that the risk of tick exposure is any greater near where this dog was visiting than it is in any other part of the state,” he said. “This individual interception was pretty low-risk. What is high-risk, however, is the opportunity for others to move this tick into the state.”

New York is one of nine states where the tick — scientific name Haemaphysalis longicornis — has been found, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The others are Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

While it’s not known how the tick first arrived in the United States, it was initially found in New Jersey in 2017, the federal agency says. Infestations have been found on wild and domestic animals, livestock and humans.

Federal and state health officials are particularly concern about the affects this tick could have on livestock; large infestations can stress the animal and death from blood loss can result, according to the Department of Agriculture.

It appears to be less interested in biting humans than animals, and to date, there have been no cases of harmful diseases found in the ticks that are in the United States, according to the New Hampshire news release. However, they have been known to transmit human diseases in other countries.

Its eradication from this country is unlikely, Crawford said. New Hampshire agencies don’t have the ability to perform routine tick surveillance, so the public’s assistance with monitoring for ticks is “appreciated and essential.”

Anyone who finds an unusual tick should submit it to a veterinarian or physician, who can then send it to the N.H. Department of Agriculture for identification.

“Our hope with these messages is to prevent, for as long as possible, the introduction of ALT into New Hampshire,” Crawford said. “We are asking everyone to not only protect themselves from tick bites, but to pay close attention to their animals as possible transporters of this tick, or any other, into New Hampshire.”

Story re-posted from Written by Meghan Foley.