If you live on the East End, being vigilant about ticks is the norm. Unfortunately, there is another new and potentially deadly type to keep an eye out for this year. While they are not native to the Western Hemisphere, the East Asian tick, also known as longhorned or bush
tick, were reported for the first time in the United States in 2017, according to the CDC.
The East Asian tick was originally identified in 2009 in China. The tick can carry a deadly new disease, STFS (severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome), which caused the death of 35 people in South Korea in 2013. The CDC estimates that between 6 and 30 percent of those infected with SFTS die.
Asian longhorned ticks have been detected on pets, livestock, wildlife, and people. Alarmingly, the female ticks do not need a mate to lay eggs or reproduce, and it is possible to come across thousands of ticks at a time.
In the US, the East Asian tick was initially discovered on a sheep farm in New Jersey, and the East Asian tick has made its way to Long Island. While bites from these ticks can cause great harm, the CDC notes that as of March 25, 2019, no harmful germs have been discovered in the ticks unearthed in the United States.
"A new year brings new concerns," Tick expert Brian Kelly
of East End Tick and Mosquito Control noted. "While there haven't been any diseases detected in the Asian Longhorned tick as of yet, research is ongoing and the time to act is NOW."
The number of illnesses from tick-borne diseases has tripled over the past 12 years, according to the CDC. "Zika, West Nile, Lyme and chikungunya - a growing list of diseases caused by an infected mosquito, tick or flea have confronted the U.S. in recent years. We don't know what will threaten Americans next," the CDC explained. Warmer climates and changing weather are among reasons that scientists believe have caused the escalation of ticks, mosquitos and fleas.
If you believe that you've come across a Asian longhorned tick, the CDC recommends that you:
1. Remove ticks properly from people and animals as quickly as possible.
2. Save the tick in rubbing alcohol and save in a jar or ziplock bag then take the following steps:
• Contact your health department about steps you can take to prevent tick bites and tick borne diseases.
• Contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect pets from ticks and tick bites.
• Contact your state agriculture department or local agricultural extension office about ticks on livestock or for tick identification.
To learn more about how to tick-proof your home, contact East End Tick and Mosquito Control at 631-287-9700 or tickcontrol.com
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com