Savage Tick-Clone Armies are Sucking Cows to Death; Experts Fear for Humans [arstechnica.com]:
Spreading invasive tick spawns without mating and can transmit deadly disease.
Ravenous swarms of cloned ticks have killed a fifth cow in North Carolina by exsanguination [ncagr.gov]—that is, by draining it of blood—the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warned this week.
Experts fear that the bloodthirsty throngs, which were first noticed in the United States in 2017 [arstechnica.com], will continue their rampage, siphoning life out of animals and eventually transmitting diseases, potentially deadly ones, to humans.
Just last month, infectious disease researchers in New York reported the first case of the tick species biting a human in the US [oup.com]. The finding was “unsurprising” given the tick’s ferocious nature, according to Dr. Bobbi S. Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory in Mayo Clinic. And it’s “extremely worrisome for several reasons [oup.com],” she wrote in a commentary for the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
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The tick—the Asian longhorned tick, or Haemaphysalis longicornis—was first found terrorizing a sheep in New Jersey in 2017 and has established local populations in at least 10 states [usda.gov] since it sneaked in. Its invasive sweep is due in large part to the fact that a single well-fed female can spawn up to 2,000 tick clones parthenogenetically—that is, without mating—in a matter of weeks. And unlike other ticks that tend to feast on a victim for no more than seven days, mobs of H. longicorni can latch on for up to 19 days.
According to the new report out of North Carolina, the latest victim there was a young bull in Surry County at the border with Virginia. At the time of its death, the doomed beast had more than 1,000 ticks on him. The official cause of death was acute anemia, which is typically associated with severe hemorrhaging. The bull’s owner had lost four other cattle the same way since 2018.
The case echoes the first report of the tick, which stalked a lone sheep paddocked in an affluent neighborhood in New Jersey in August 2017. The animal was besieged by hundreds of ticks, which scrambled up the legs of health investigators when they walked in to survey the situation.
US Invaded by Savage Tick that Sucks Animals Dry, Spawns Without Mating [soylentnews.org]
Invasive Exsanguinating Tick Spreading [soylentnews.org].