UPDATE: Tick deemed threatening to humans, beef industry found in WV
According to the state Department of Agriculture, the first Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, (also known as the East Asian or longhorned ticks) have been found in West Virginia.
The exotic ticks were found on cattle at two separate locations in Hardy County.
Officials say the tick is invasive, and is considered a threat to both humans and cattle.
"Heavy tick infestations may cause stunted growth, decreased production and animal deaths. This tick species is known to carry several diseases prone to affect livestock and humans alike, some of which are not prevalent in the United States," the department stated in a press release.
“Like deer ticks that transmit Lyme disease, longhorned ticks are very small and can be difficult to find on people and animals. It is important to conduct full-body tick checks when returning from time outdoors in wooded areas," says Miguella Mark-Carew, director of Epidemiology and Prevention Services for West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Officials say the tick is a threat to the beef industry.
“We want people to understand we now have confirmation this tick is in West Virginia. Livestock producers and the public should take extra precautions,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.
Leonhardt also says the Department of Agriculture will be working with veterinarians across the state to handle any outbreaks.
“Livestock producers, animal owners and veterinarians should notify the State Veterinarian’s office if they notice any unusual ticks, or ticks that occur in large numbers on an individual animal,” says State Veterinarian Dr. James Maxwell. “Livestock producers can work with their veterinarians to develop a tick prevention and control program.”
The tick was found in Virginia last week, and had previously been spotted in New Jersey-the first of its kind found in the United States. No direct link has been found to the tick's presence in New Jersey, and its presence in Virginia and West Virginia.
For any questions about tickborne diseases, you are asked to call the DHHR’s Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at (304) 558-5358, extension 1, or visit the Related Link (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).
For questions regarding animals, you can call the WVDA’s Animal Health Division at (304) 558-2214.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is asking residents to be on the lookout for an invasive tick that may be in the state.
Officials say that on Monday, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the presence of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick, (also known as the East Asian or longhorned tick) in Virginia. Officials say the tick may be in the Mountain State as well.
The exotic tick has been found on livestock, and officials say it could be a threat to the beef industry.
State Veterinarian Dr. James Maxwell says that livestock producers, veterinarians, and animal owners should notify the State Veterinarian’s office if they see any unusual ticks or ticks appearing in large numbers on one animal.
"Typically, these ticks are seen in the greatest numbers in spring and fall but can persist through all four seasons, especially in warmer weather,” Maxwell says. “Livestock producers can work with their veterinarians to develop a tick prevention and control program.”
For more information, you can contact the WVDA’s Animal Health Division at 304-558-2214.