Deadly Clone Ticks Are Killing Cattle And Chasing Humans

Science | By Jamal Mack | July 12, 2019

Have you ever been bitten by a tick? It is a very disturbing thing to happen since the tick doesn't just bite you then move on. It'll stick onto you, slowly sucking your blood until it has had its fill. Finding one on you can be like living our a moment in a horror movie. Ticks are like the vampires of the bug world.

What makes ticks even worse is all the diseases that they carry. A tick bite can lead to some pretty nasty diseases, and not just something that will easily go away. These can be life changing diseases. That will make you want to double check for ticks after your next hike.

Like many other creatures in the animal and bug kingdoms, the tick comes in various types and varieties, some more deadly than others. Haemaphysalis longicornis is a type of tick that you definitely don't want to mess with, and in the past few years it has become quite a violent problem.

Haemaphysalis Longicornis

Haemaphysalis longicornis isn't the result of someone falling asleep on the keyboard. It is the scientific name for the Asian longhorned tick. As its name implies, it is from Asia, but it recently and mysteriously came to the United States in New Jersey in 2017. It was there that these nasty ticks ravaged the sheep population. They have since spread to ten more states.

One of the reasons this type of tick is such a problem is that the females don't need a mate to give birth to 2,000 tick clones as long as the female has plenty to eat. This type of tick has no trouble getting plenty to eat. They can latch on to their pray for much longer than your average tick. While the average tick feasts for seven days, the longicorni feasts for 19.

The Ticks Attacked Health Officials

In North Carolina these awful ticks murdered a bull. When found dead, the bull was being bled dry by over 1,000 ticks. This was the fifth cattle death in the same way from that farmer since 2018. It is the same thing that happened to the first case of the longicorni popping up in New Jersey in 2017. The sheep victim was discovered with hundreds of the ticks on it when the health investigators showed up. Even more frightening, the ticks immediately scampered towards the health officials and tried to latch onto them as well.

The situation was so disturbing that the health officials looked back into their tick larvae data to see if they could find anything like it. They found a sample that was dated back to 2010, but are still unsure exactly where this tick originated from in the United States.

Disease Carriers

The longicorni is not only aggressive, it is disease carrying as well. South Korea and China suffer from these ticks, which spread Sever Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus. The mortality rate for this disease can reach 30%. They can also spread many other diseases like Japanese spotted fever among others. Luckily none of the United States longicorni have carried any of those diseases, but if they ever did, it would be disastrous given how aggressive these ticks are.

After a 66-year-old man discovered one of the ticks biting him, health officials invesigated the land surrounding his home. There they discovered more of the ticks who were found in sunny areas. That is alarming given the fact that other ticks are usually found in the shade. This could change what warnings health officials give to people on how to avoid ticks.



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