Residents are urged to take precautions for themselves, their pets & their livestock.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Marylanders are urged to take precautions in protecting themselves, their pets and their livestock from an invasive species detected recently in the state. Haemaphysalis longicornis, also known as the East Asian tick, the longhorned tick or the Bush tick has been found in Maryland. Dr. Michael Radebaugh, the State’s Veterinarian, says the insect was detected in Washington County on a white tail deer which died after being struck by a motor vehicle. “That’s the first case in Maryland,” he says. “We’re the seventh state that this tick has been found. Initially, it was found in New Jersey a year and a half ago.”
In addition to Maryland and New Jersey, it’s been detected in West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania.
Dr. Radebaugh says this tick is native to China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. “It may have been in this country for at least four or five years,” he says. “It was probably misclassified initially as the rabbit tick, which is close relative or in the same group of ticks that Longhorn tick is located in.”
So far, the tick has not been found to spread diseases. But the State of Maryland will be researching that. “We’ve set up a working tick group in Maryland using the University of Maryland College Park,” says Dr. Radenbaugh. “Dr. Megan Fritz is an entomologist there at the University of Maryland College Park to assist us.”
He says if you find any unusual ticks on your pets or livestock, send them to Dr. Fritz for analysis. “Usually these ticks are very aggressive. and there will be multiple ticks on animals and people. Then we want those ticks to be sent to Dr. Fritz,” says Dr. Radebaugh.
MDA says if you’re heading outside, avoid wooded areas with high grass and leaf litter. Also, use EPA registered insect repellents which contain DEET, picardin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undercanone (CDC), The Agency also says wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when outside. Treat items like boots, pants, socks, and tents with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
And, as always, check your body for ticks when you get back inside.
By Kevin McManus
Photo From MDA’s website.