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Asian Longhorned Tick

On Monday, July 8, 2019, the NCDA&CS Veterinary Division announced in a press release that the Asian longhorned tick were responsible for the death of five cattle in Surry County. This is like the cases that have been reported in livestock in Virginia.

The Asian longhorned tick was first identified in the U.S. in 2010. There is much still be learned about this tick as a new invasive species in the U.S. Ticks collected from these cattle were submitted to Cornell University and tested negative for:
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum
  • Anaplasma marginale
  • Babesia microti
  • Bartonella spp
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Borrelia mayonii
  • Borrelia miyamotoi
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Ehrlichia chaffeensis
  • Ehrlichia ewingii
  • Heartland virus
  • Mycoplasma haemocanis
  • Powassan virus (I and II)
  • Rickettsia spp.
  • Rickettsia rickettsii
  • Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus
  • Theileria orientalis

NCDA&CS recommends livestock owners:

  • Work with your veterinarian and extension agent to discuss an appropriate tick strategy for your flock or herd.
  • The best tick prevention strategies focus on multiple tick control measures, based on tick ecology, that are a part of an integrated pest management plan are important to consider when attempting to increase the chances of reducing tick populations and tick-host contact.
  • Common tick control methods include:
    • Visual inspection of hosts for ticks (e.g., scratching for ticks),
    • Habitat modifications (e.g.,pasture management by keeping grasses short),
      • This is critical in that the Asian longhorned tick spends the majority of its time in the environment and not on a host
    • Acaricide treatment of hosts, vegetation, and equipment, and
    • Tick vaccines for susceptible species.
Producers who want to identify the species of tick found on their livestock are encouraged to take advantage of the free tick identification program offered through the North Carolina Division of Public Health and contact their veterinarian to submit collected samples.

Other states experiencing Asian longhorned ticks affecting companion and livestock animals have reported that typical acaricides prescribed by veterinarians have been effective in controlling this tick as a part of tick management strategies. Producers are encouraged to contact their veterinarian to see which current acaricide products are available in the U.S. that are effective and are in use in other countries.

As our knowledge of the Asian longhorned tick increases, NCDA&CS and USDA VS will release additional best practices in tick control management for this species. Entomologists from USDA VS are available for consultation and advice.

Michael J. Neault

Director of Animal Health Programs/ Livestock

NCDA&CS Veterinary Division, Dr. Michael Martin - State Veterinarian
Mailing Address: 1030 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1030
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3250 Fax: (919) 733-2277

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