The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that an invasive species of tick is spreading in the U.S.
The Asian longhorned tick has now been found in 19 states, the CDC said.
The tick was first documented in the U.S. in 2017. Most recently, it was found earlier this year in Ohio. Sights have also been reported in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The ticks are not common in the Western Hemisphere but have since been found on pets, livestock, wildlife and people. However, unlike the American dog tick, blacklegged tick and lone star tick, the ticks don’t seem to be as attracted to humans as compared to animals, the CDC said.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the ticks can “form large infestations on warm-blooded host animals.”
That’s what happened in Ohio, where three cows had been infested with the ticks and died, according to an article published in September in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
A thousand ticks can be found on an animal, the CDC said.
The female ticks can also lay eggs and reproduce without mating, as males of the species are rare, according to the USDA.
Still, experts said you should take measures to prevent tick bites by using repellants that will keep ticks away on clothing, your body and your animals. Also, do a tick-check daily.
If you end up finding a tick, you should remove it as quickly as possible, put it in rubbing alcohol in a jar or a zip-lock bag to save it in case you get sick.