Mac Slavo – July 2, 2018
A newly discovered invasive tick, most commonly found in Asia and known for cloning itself, spreading diseases in humans and sucking livestock dry has been discovered in the United States. Native to East Asia, the longhorn tick is known for spreading diseases in humans that can be fatal.
An Entomologist at the Hunterdon County Health Services in Flemington, New Jersey says he’s never seen anything quite like this new tick infestation on a pet sheep. In September of 2017, Tadhgh Rainey noticed the strange ticks after a farmer came into the facility covered in them. She said she was shearing her one sheep when she noticed they had covered her. According to Science News, when he and his colleague entered the sheep’s enclosure, “we almost immediately got covered in ticks,” he says. “I couldn’t believe this sheep was alive.” It was covered in hundreds, maybe thousands, of ticks.” The entire investigation sounds like something straight out of a horror movie:
“Investigation of the Hunterdon property in early October revealed a large number of ticks both on the sheep and throughout the paddock,” the scientists shared in a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. “The ticks in the paddock were so numerous that they crawled on investigators’ pants soon after setting foot inside. The sheep was supporting hundreds of ticks, including all three active life stages (larva, nymph, adult). Although ticks were concentrated on the sheep’s ears and face, engorged ticks of all stages were readily found all over its body, including areas beneath the animal’s thick coat.” –Mother Nature Network
Rainey couldn’t identify the ticks swarming all over his body, so he sent several samples to labs all across the country. One went to Andrea Egizi, an entomologist at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Brunswick, N.J. When Egizi analyzed the DNA of the ticks she was shocked and horrified when the identification came back as Haemaphysalis longicornis, a native of East Asia, known as the “Longhorn Tick.”