SALT LAKE CITY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will officially start investigating a tick that first made headlines months ago for being a potential threat to humans.
What’s going on: Nine states have reported finding the Asian longhorned tick, which is commonly known for carrying a disease that kills 15 percent of its victims.
- Last week, the CDC said it plans to investigate the tick now that states have reported seeing it.
- “The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown. … We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations on animals, on people, and in the environment, is spreading in the United States,” Ben Beard, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said in a statement.
Flashback: The New York Times reported about the Asian longhorned tick this past summer. The tick is widely known throughout Asia for holding a virus that can kill 15 percent of its victims.
What it does: The tick “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,” according to The New York Times.
- The tick can reproduce up to 2,000 eggs without mating, which means the tick could dump that many ticks on one human or animal, according to USA Today.
- “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, according to my report from earlier this year.
Reports: New Jersey discovered the tick on a dog in 2013 and a sheep in 2017. Eight other states — Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. — have seen the tick pop up in their areas, USA Today reports.
Experts: Back in August, I wrote about how experts are worried about the tick, even though it hasn’t impacted any humans.
- Rutgers entomologist Andrea Egizi told The Daily Beast that a colleague said the new tick “didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen before.”
- She added, “It was a species I’d never heard of before.”