What is the Asian longhorned tick and where is it found?

The Asian longhorned tick is originally from Asia. Its bites can potentially cause people and animals to become very ill. It usually lives in several Asian countries, such as eastern China, Japan, the Russian Far East and Korea. It wasn't always found in the United States but was introduced sometime in the past. It was first reported in the U.S. in 2017 and has now been reported in several states. It's been found on people and various animals.

To date, the tick hasn't been found to cause disease in people or animals in the U.S. But it can potentially spread germs that cause serious human diseases. For example, in China and Japan, it's responsible for spreading germs such as the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus, a cause of a human hemorrhagic fever, and Rickettsia japonica, a cause of Japanese spotted fever.

An unusual feature of the Asian longhorned ticks is that the females may reproduce and lay eggs without mating with a male tick. They can then develop very large infestations on animals.

You can prevent all types of tick bites by:

  • Using insect repellents containing DEET
  • Wearing clothing treated with 0.5% permethrin
  • Staying on trails when hiking
  • Checking your clothing and body for ticks after being outdoors
  • Showering after spending time outdoors
  • Removing ticks as soon as possible
  • Drying clothes on high heat for 10 minutes after wearing them outdoors

You can prevent tick bites in pets by checking your pets after they come inside and removing ticks right away. You can also protect pets and livestock from tick bites by using tick prevention products. Regularly mowing grass and weeds also can prevent tick bites in livestock.