Connecticut on red alert as invasive ticks take over state
Foreign ticks are gaining a stronger presence in Connecticut, according to scientists. Asian longhorned ticks, an invasive species, were first discovered biting humans in Connecticut in 2018.
Since the initial discovery, the state has detected Asian longhorned ticks across Fairfield and New Haven counties. Additionally, outbreaks have been reported in Bridgeport, Stratford, Derby, and Milford.
Landscaping companies, as they move from client to client in affluent suburbs, have been identified as a primary mode of transmission. High deer populations can also contribute to the spread of these ticks. Most of the known infestations have occurred in parks.
The ongoing expansion comes as a study from the University of Ohio gained widespread attention following a press release earlier this month. The study identified three cases of dead cattle, including an otherwise healthy bull, that perished from severe blood loss. While a single tick cannot kill a cow, tens of thousands biting simultaneously can cause fatal blood loss.
These ticks are native to China, Japan, Korea, and southeastern Russia. Similar to other ticks, Asian longhorned ticks carry the potential to transmit diseases to both livestock and humans. In Asia, these ticks spread various diseases, including a viral hemorrhagic fever and Japanese spotted fever, both potentially fatal illnesses.
It remains unclear whether this tick can transmit the same tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme, that are currently prevalent. However, another study demonstrated that Asian longhorned ticks can carry and transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever under laboratory conditions.
According to Goudarz Molaei, a scientist, it is only a matter of time before these ticks spread throughout the state.