Texas Animal Health Commission officials have confirmed the presence of the Longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in Benton County, Arkansas, increasing to four the number of states with confirmed sightings of the exotic Asian pest. The tick was first identified in New Jersey late last year, and since has been confirmed in Virginia, West Virginia and now Arkansas. TAHC would like to remind veterinarians and livestock producers to be vigilant and proactive as they observe and collect ticks on small and large animals.
The tick is known to carry a wide variety of pathogens and has many hosts.
It has not been found in Texas, but it is of the upmost importance that veterinarians are aware and continue to collect and submit tick samples to the Texas State-Federal Laboratory for identification.
For information about submitting tick to the Texas State-Federal Laboratory, visit the Fever Tick and Fly Larvae Submission Guide. The current host list from this introduction includes: dog, cow, goat, sheep, white-tailed deer, opossum, raccoon and horse. No Longhorned ticks have been recorded feeding on people in the United States.
H. longicornis background:Haemaphysalis longicornis, an exotic East Asian tick, has never previously established a population in the U.S. In late 2017, this exotic tick was initially identified in New Jersey and believed to be present as far back as 5 years ago. There are no known direct links between New Jersey and recent cases in other states.
It is an aggressive biter and frequently builds intense infestations on domestic hosts causing great stress, reduced growth and production, and exsanguination. As the tick can reproduce parthenogenetically (without a male), a single fed female tick can create a population. It is also a known/suspected vector of several viral, bacterial and protozoan agents of livestock and human diseases.
Being a three-host tick, it has the ability to spread pathogens among a diverse host range, on which it feeds side-by-side with other tick species. The establishment of this tick species is unprecedented in recent U.S. history in regards to its geographic scope and might only be compared back to the spread of cattle fever ticks in the late 1800s.
For more information about H. longicornis contact the TAHC at 512-719-0716. For questions concerning tick submissions, contact the Texas State-Federal Laboratory at 512-832-6580.