Invasive tick species potential threat to pets, livestock, and humans

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - An invasive tick species has been found in three neighboring states, prompting the Maryland Department of Agriculture to warn pet and livestock owners to check their animals for the tiny bloodsuckers.

The East Asian tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis), also known as the longhorned tick and the bush tick, was found in New Jersey, West Virginia and Virginia. Though the tick hasn't been reported in Maryland yet, state officials are urging animal owners to be on the look out for this species or other unusual ticks or high volumes of tick bites.

The East Asian tick is considered a serious concern for livestock, including hoofed animals and fowl, by the United States Department of Agriculture. Infections from the ticks can cause diseases that stunt the animal's growth, decrease production, or die. It may also carry diseases that could affect humans as well as animals, like Anaplasmosis, Q-fever, Piroplasmosis, and newer infections like Japanese Spotted Fever and Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome. 

A routine check of pets and livestock is recommended, and if you find unusual ticks or a high number of bites, contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Health Program's office at 410-841-5810.

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