New tick species capable of transmitting deadly disease is spreading in the U.S., Washington Post, Nov 29, 2018A new invasive tick species capable of transmitting several severe diseases is spreading in the United States, posing an emerging threat to human and animal health, according to a pair of reports issued Thursday. The Asian longhorned tick is the first invasive tick to arrive in the United States in about 80 years. It’s native to eastern China, Japan, the Russian Far East and the Korean Peninsula and is now also established in Australia and New Zealand.

Role of white-tailed deer in geographic spread of the black-legged tick Ixodes scapularis : Analysis of a spatially nonlocal model, American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Aug 2018Lyme disease accounts for over 90% of all reported vector-borne disease in the United States. Its current invasive spread in the eastern U.S. constitutes a major public health concern. B.burgdorferi-infected I.scapularis are found at highest densities in endemic foci in the Northeast and upper Midwestern United States. However, increasing incidence of human cases is related, in part, to the ongoing geographical spread of ticks into new areas such as Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.
Ticks are capable of moving only very short distances independently, so their fast and large scale spatial spread cannot be attributed solely to their own mobility. Rather, large-scale changes in tick distribution arise as a consequence of the movement of ticks by the vertebrate hosts to which they attach while feeding. Among such hosts are, in the order of the distances they can move, white-footed mice Peromyscus leucopus, white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, and some migratory birds. This paper focuses on the role of white-tailed deer in spreading the ticks. Over the past 50 years, white-tailed deer populations have undergone explosive population growth due to reversion of agricultural lands to forest and restrictions on hunting. This expanding deer population is believed to have facilitated blacklegged tick expansion throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Asian Tick Invading America Is a Mystery to Lyme Experts, Daily Beast, Aug 22, 2018There’s a new tick crawling around the Eastern half of the United States: the long-horned tick, an invasive species from Eastern Asia that’s been spotted increasingly in urban areas like Staten Island in New York, along with New Jersey, Virginia, and all the way down to Arkansas. But unlike the black-legged tick, whose travel patterns, host preferences, and habitat are well-known, scientists are struggling to answer even the most basic questions about its Asian relative. We don’t yet know how the long-horned tick came to the United States, how it’s spreading, or what it’s capable of doing. All we know is that it’s here.

An Invasive New Tick Is Spreading in the U.S., New York Times, Aug 6, 2018Although domestic American ticks are a growing menace and transmit a dozen pathogens, no long-horned ticks here have yet been found with any human diseases. In Asia, however, the species carries a virus that kills 15 percent of its victims. In East Asia, long-horned ticks do carry pathogens related to Lyme and others found in North America. But the biggest threat is a phlebovirus that causes S.F.T.S., for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome.

New tick in Pa. could cause year-round problems, York Daily Record, Aug 2 2018A longhorned tick, not native to the United States, was discovered on a deer that was being tested for Chronic Wasting Disease in Centre County. State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Shannon Powers said the longhorned tick has probably been in Pennsylvania for much longer, given its undetectability to the naked eye. One of the distinct features of the longhorned tick is its ability to survive winter conditions, forcing outdoor enthusiasts to check for ticks year round. Any hopes of containing the spread of the longhorned tick might be futile, as they are able to reproduce asexually, opening up the potential for massive growth.

Landscape Features Associated With Blacklegged Tick (Acari: Ixodidae) Density and Tick-Borne Pathogen Prevalence at Multiple Spatial Scales in Central New York State, Journal of Medical Entomology, July 18, 2018Blacklegged ticks are the most commonly encountered and medically relevant tick species in New York State and have exhibited recent geographic range expansion. Forests and adjacent habitat are important determinants of I. scapularis density and may influence tick-borne pathogen prevalence. We examined how percent forest cover, dominant land cover type, and habitat type influenced I. scapularis nymph and adult density, and associated tick-borne pathogen prevalence, in an inland Lyme-emergent region of NY. I. scapularis nymphs and adults were collected from edge and wooded habitats using tick drags at 16 sites in Onondaga County, NY in 2015 and 2016. A subsample of ticks from each site was tested for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia miyamotoi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti using a novel multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, and deer tick virus using reverse transcription–PCR. Habitat type (wooded versus edge) was an important determinant of tick density; however. B.burgdorferi was the most commonly detected pathogen and was present in ticks from all sites. Ticks infected with A. phagocytophilum and B. miyamotoi were collected more often in urban environments. Similarity between B. burgdorferi prevalence in Onondaga County and hyperendemic areas of southeastern NY indicates a more rapid emergence than expected in a relatively naive region.

Reconciling the Entomological Hazard and Disease Risk in the Lyme Disease System, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, May 22, 2018Lyme disease (LD) is a commonly cited model for the link between habitat loss and/or fragmentation and disease emergence, based in part on studies showing that forest patch size is negatively related to LDentomological risk. An equivalent relationship has not, however, been shown between patch size and LD incidence (LDI). Because entomological risk is measured at the patch scale, while LDI is generally assessed in relation to aggregate landscape statistics such as forest cover, we posit that the contribution of individual patches to human LD risk has not yet been directly evaluated.

Ticks in Ohio, Ohio DNR, 2018Blacklegged ticks are active throughout the year in Ohio. The adults are active in the spring, fall and winter. The nymphs are active in the spring and summer and the larvae are active late summer. The onset of human Lyme disease cases occurs year round in Ohio but peaks in summer following the emergence of nymphs.

Ticks and Your Health: Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses in Michigan, MI Tick Guide, 2018If your home is bordered by grassy or wooded areas with abundant wildlife, including deer and small mammals, there are several ways you can create a “tick safe zone” around your residence. Wildlife and ticks need moist, shaded places to live and hide while they’re not searching for food. Keeping these areas separated from your lawn or recreation areas and reducing clutter around your home can help reduce the number of ticks dramatically.

Ticks are appearing more frequently in backyards. Here’s how to target ticks close to home., Journal Sentinal, July 3, 2018 Forty to 90 percent of white-footed mice [in Wisconsin] carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme.

Ticks rising, Aeon.com, April 2, 2018In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change. Ticks can, and sometimes do, deliver two, three or four diseases in one bite. So resourceful are infected ticks that two feeding side by side on the same animal can pass pathogens, one to the other, and never infect the host. So clever is the Lyme pathogen that infected ticks are more efficient at finding prey than uninfected ticks. These ticks might not be able to fly or jump or trek more than a couple of human steps. But they have changed many lives, cost billions in medical care, and colored a walk in the woods or a child’s romp in the grass, our very relationship with nature, with angst.

Could Reducing Deer Populations Reduce Lyme Disease?, Entomology Today, Sept 28, 2017In a new article published in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Sam Telford, Ph.D., from the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, argues that reducing deer populations is a key component of managing tick populations.

Projections in Deer Tick Habitat, Climate Central, June 28, 2017Deer ticks do not appear to behave the same way in all parts of the country. One reason for the differing behavior appears to be related to relative humidity. As temperatures climb from the increase in greenhouse gases, there is an increase in overall humidity. In a recent study, deer ticks died faster when relative humidity was moderate (75 percent), but survived longer under high humidity (85 percent-95 percent).

Lyme Isn’t the Only Disease Ticks Are Spreading This Summer, WIRED, May 29, 2017Scientists like Armstrong estimate that Powassan is only prevalent in about 4 percent of deer ticks, way lower than the 30 to 40 percent prevalence of Lyme disease. But here’s the thing. Lyme disease, which is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium, takes about 48 hours to transmit; if you find a tick on your body and remove it within a day or two, you can usually escape a Lyme infection. POW, on the other hand, goes from the tick’s body, through its saliva, and into your bloodstream within a few minutes of a bite. So even though it’s not in many ticks, if the right one gets you, there’s not much you can do.

Tick-Proof Your Yard Without Spraying, Consumer Reports, May 27, 2017When working in the yard, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes. Use insect repellent—the best in our tests provide more than 8 hours of tick protection. “And regardless of the time of year, perform a tick check as soon as you return indoors,” Goodman says.

What to do if you are bitten by a tick, NJ.com, May 26, 2017Sometimes it seems there is scary news about ticks nearly every day. An illness that struck a Connecticut baby reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April bought the extremely rare – but dangerous – Powassan virus to the public’s attention. In the meantime, an unknown number of people have developed an allergy to beef, pork and lamb as a result of a bite from the Lone Star Tick. And that’s on top of the state’s 4,855 new cases of Lyme disease confirmed in 2015, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. When combined, they create a climate in which the sight of a poppy-sized bug noshing on your ankle can trigger a near panic attack.

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