Heads-up. Note the symptoms.New Invasive Tick That Could Infect You With Potentially Fatal Disease Found in New Jersey
A new invasive tick species that has the potential to infect people with a newly emerging deadly disease has been identified in New Jersey.
The East Asian tick, also known as the longhorned or bush tick, was first spotted in November on sheep in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Efforts to eradicate the ticks over the winter failed and authorities now fear the tick may be here for good.
The tick has the potential to transmit a virus known as SFTS, which stands for severe fever with thrombocyt
While the new tick can carry the virus, those identified in New Jersey are not carriers, WTXF reports.
"It has the potential [to carry SFTS]," microbiologist James Occi told CBS New York. "That's why we're worried."
First identified in China in 2009, SFTS is an emerging infectious virus that killed 35 people in South Korea in 2013. Cases of the disease have also been reported in Japan.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, multiple-organ failure, thrombocyt
openia, low platelet count, low white blood cell count and elevated liver enzyme levels. Between 6 and 30 percent of people infected die from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Exploding Number of Ticks, Mosquitoes and Fleas
The number of people becoming ill from ticks, mosquitos and fleas has tripled over the past 12 years, according to a new CDC report. Within the same 12-year period, nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States.
“Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya — a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea — have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick. And we don’t know what will threaten Americans next,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield. “Our Nation’s first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases.”
Kayla Socarras, a researcher at Drexel's Center for Advanced Microbial, said the exploding number of illness-bearing ticks, fleas and mosquitoes is concerning.
"Bugs can move into new climates and new places where originally they would have never survived," Socarras told WTXF. "Because of warmer temps and increased food supply for them, they're surviving quite easily."
A warming climate and associated changing weather patterns are partially to blame for the exploding numbers of ticks, mosquitoes and fleas, scientists say.
“A longer warm-weather season and changing rainfall patterns are allowing the insects that can transmit disease to humans to thrive for longer periods each year — and to simultaneously move into broader areas,” Kim Knowlton, senior scientist and deputy director of Natural Resources Defense Council’s Science Center.
Another rare but concerning illness that is spread by ticks is the Powassan virus. In 2013, a woman in Maine died after a tick bite.
According to the CDC, there have been 100 cases reported in the past 10 years of the virus that is believed to be fatal in 10 to 15 percent of those who are exposed. Symptoms include headaches, vomiting, confusion, seizures, memory loss and long-term neurological problems in those who survive the infection.
Other diseases spread by ticks include Lyme Disease, babesiosis and Heartland virus. The CDC lists more than 15 illnesses that can be spread by ticks.
The CDC recommends to the following to prevent insect-borne illnesses:
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin or use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Take steps to control ticks and fleas on pets.
- Find and remove ticks daily from family and pets.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas inside and outside your home.