Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced on July 31 that the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has confirmed that an exotic tick, known as the Asian longhorned tick, has been found in Gallia County.
The tick was found on a stray dog originating from Gallia County, which was later transported to a shelter in Canal Winchester. The tick was identified on May 28 by The Ohio State University and sent to the federal lab for confirmation.
“Due to the nature of this pest, the female ticks can reproduce without a male, so it only takes one tick to create an established population in a new location,” said ODA State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey. “This pest is especially fatal to livestock, so producers should practice preventative measures and be on the lookout for this new threat.”
The Asian longhorned tick is an exotic East Asian tick that is known as a serious pest to livestock. U.S. Department of Agriculture first confirmed the presence of this tick in the U.S. in New Jersey in 2017.
Asian longhorned ticks are light brown in color and are very small, often smaller than a sesame seed. They are difficult to detect due to their size and quick movement. They are known to carry pathogens, which can cause disease in humans and livestock, and may also cause distress to the host from their feeding in large numbers.
In the United States, the tick has been found in or near counties with large horse, cattle, and sheep populations. To protect against infestations, farmers should check their livestock for ticks regularly. If producers spot unusual looking ticks or large infestations, report this to your local veterinarian or ODA’s Division of Animal Health at 614-728-6220.
Preventative measures such as keeping grass and weeds trimmed, in addition to clearing away brush on feedlots and pastures, can also help.
ODA state veterinary officials will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal and industry partners to determine the extent and significance of this finding.
Livestock producers and owners should notify ODA’s Division of Animal Health immediately at 614-728-6220 if they notice unusual ticks that have not been seen before or that occur in large numbers on an animal.