SALT LAKE CITY — A new invasive tick is spreading through the United States for the first time in 50 years.
The Asian longhorned tick has spread throughout the Eastern Seaboard already, causing slight concern from public health experts, according to The New York Times.
The tick has yet to develop any human diseases, however. Domestic American ticks carry pathogens and transmit them into people rather often.
"In Asia, however, the species carries a virus that kills 15 percent of its victims," according to The Times.
According to the Times, the longhorned ticks “can multiply rapidly and suck so much blood from a young animal that it dies. The ticks bloat up like fat raisins until their tiny legs are barely able to support them.”
"It is an aggressive biter and frequently builds intense infestations on animals causing great stress … and blood loss," according to a statement sent to The Charlotte Observerfrom the North Carolina Department of Agriculture
So far, the tick has been found in seven different states. Experts say the tick is hard to identify.
“Even experts have difficulty distinguishing among tick species, so it is important to take precautions to protect pets, livestock and family members from becoming a host for ticks of any kind,” state veterinarian David Wolfgang told The Pocono Record. “Scientists don’t yet know how this species will adapt to the North American climate and animal hosts, but we know it survived New Jersey’s winter and has infested sheep and cattle in this region.”
So far, the tick has been found in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.
The tick can survive throughout the entire year, according to the York Daily Record.
“We know it can survive very harsh winters. It can handle those winters in other countries, and we know it has survived winters in New Jersey as well,” said Shannon Powers, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania secretary of health, told The Pocono Record that people should be cautious when outside.
“Ticks can be found in your own backyard, so it is essential to wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellent containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks and the diseases they carry. It is also important to check yourself and your pets for ticks, as pets can bring ticks indoors.”
This story has been updated.