NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Multiple state agencies and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture confirmed Thursday that an invasive tick species had been found in six additional counties.
According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the invasive Asian longhorned tick was found in Knox, Jefferson, Claiborne, Cocke, Putnam and Sevier counties.
The invasive tick species had previously been found in Roane and Union counties back in May.
The parasite was first discovered about two years ago on sheep in New Jersey.
The agencies are also instructing Tennesseans to be vigilant about tick prevention treatments for animals; plus, if the invasive Asian longhorned tick is found on an animal, to remove it and freeze it in a plastic bag for further inspection.
“Tennessee has numerous animal hosts and a suitable habitat for this tick species,” Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. “While it is always important to be diligent and keep an eye out for all ticks, the unique biology of the Asian longhorned tick helps this species to establish quickly and become a problem.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence to date that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans in the U.S. There are concerns that the tick may transmit the agent of Theileriosis in cattle, and heavy infestations can cause blood loss and lead to death.
Tips to prevent tick bites in animals and livestock include:
- Coordinate with your veterinarian to determine appropriate pest prevention for pets and livestock.
- Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.
- Remove any ticks by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers.
- Monitor your pets and livestock for any changes in health
If your animals are bitten by a tick, Dr. Trout Fryxell suggests putting the tick in a zip-closed bag, writing down the date and where the tick was most likely encountered, and storing it in a freezer.