The Asian Longhorn tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis), native to eastern China and Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and a few Pacific islands is continuing its spread through the Eastern and mid United States. [wired.com]
In those countries, it harbors an array of bacterial and viral diseases that infect humans, including a potentially deadly hemorrhagic fever. It’s even more feared for the way it attacks livestock. This tick reproduces asexually, laying thousands of eggs at a time and producing waves of offspring that extract so much blood that grown cattle grow weak and calves die.
According to the CDC the tick has now been found in 11 states. It is cold tolerant and feeds on wildlife with long ranges such as deer, increasing the speed of its spread.
It’s a truism among tick researchers that their work is underfunded compared with other insect vectors. After all, the US public health system was founded on fighting mosquitoes
To this day, the CDC maintains national maps of the ranges of different mosquito species. States, counties, and cities operate more than 700 mosquito-abatement districts, and the American Mosquito Control Association estimates those agencies collectively spend $200 million a year on catching, analyzing, and killing the bugs. Ticks don’t get anywhere near that kind of coordinated attention or money.
Four years ago, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) recommended [entsoc.org] development of an Integrated Tick Management (ITM) program across the country.
Ben Beard, a medical entomologist who is deputy director of the CDC’s division of vector-borne diseases (“vector” is shorthand for “insects that transmit diseases when they bite”), says [the lack of funding] is beginning to change. “We have funded state health departments to begin efforts for tick surveillance,” he says.
This is a start, but the CDC's data, even in its current limited state, shows that the ticks are leaving us behind and we need to catch up.
US Invaded by Savage Tick that Sucks Animals Dry, Spawns Without Mating [soylentnews.org]