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Asian Longhorned Tick Confirmed in Illinois

Asian Longhorned Tick Confirmed in Illinois

By Andi Anderson

Illinois joins the list of states affected by the invasive Asian longhorned tick, with the discovery of these ticks in Morgan County during routine surveillance on April 12. Identified by entomologists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, this marks the first known collection of the species in Illinois.

Asian longhorned ticks, known for their small size and ability to reproduce without mating, pose a threat to both humans and livestock. Capable of carrying tickborne diseases affecting cattle, their rapid reproduction can lead to significant infestations.

Dr. Mark Ernst, Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) State Veterinarian, emphasizes the importance of working with veterinarians to implement management plans for livestock. Severe infestations have resulted in livestock deaths, highlighting the urgency of prevention and control measures.

In response to the discovery, IDOA, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) are collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture to monitor and address the situation.

Dr. Sameer Vohra, Director of IDPH, stresses the significance of active tick surveillance programs in detecting emerging threats. While the potential risk to humans is still being investigated, vigilance and preventive measures are crucial.

To prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of tickborne diseases:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing recommended ingredients.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin and conduct thorough tick checks after outdoor activities.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors and consult a veterinarian for tick prevention products for pets and livestock.

If encountering the Asian longhorned tick, contact the Department of Agriculture and preserve the tick in isopropyl alcohol for identification.

Stay informed and take proactive steps to protect against tickborne illnesses and the spread of invasive species.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-erikkarits

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Categories: Illinois, General

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