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Asian Longhorned Tick Discovered in Ohio Cattle Herds

Asian longhorned tick, adult female dorsal view

Asian longhorned tick, adult female dorsal - Photo by James Gathany; CDC

The Asian Longhorned Tick (ALHT), Haemaphysalis longicornis, has recently been discovered in cattle herds in two Ohio counties. On July 30, 2021, the State Veterinarians Office was notified that the tick was detected in beef herds in Jackson and Monroe counties. Heavy infestations have led to some cattle deaths. This is significant as this marks the first known cattle (livestock) infestation in Ohio. In July 2020, ODA was informed that this tick was identified on a dog from Gallia County.

In 2017, this non-native and invasive tick species was found for the first time in the United States (New Jersey). Since then, it has moved across several mid-Atlantic states into West Virginia and now Ohio. In May of 2020, this tick was identified from a stray dog in Gallia County. This tick poses a significant disease threat and economic impact to Ohio’s livestock industry as it transmits over a dozen diseases that have human and animal health impacts.

There is great concern amongst animal health officials about the potential impacts on livestock and wildlife. This tick can feed in large populations (known as a tick mass) on warm-blooded host animals which can lead to reduced growth, animal production, and in severe cases sufficient blood loss can result in death. Thus far, 17 different mammal species and one avian species have been infested with Asian Longhorned ticks. Mammals include sheep, goats, dogs, cats, horses, elk, cattle, deer, opossums, raccoons, foxes and humans. The ALHT is a three-host tick, indicating it will feed on a different host for each life stage. Additionally, this tick is can reproduce without mating with a male. A single female can lay between 2,000 and 4,000 eggs, leading to heavy populations in some areas. This wide host range and unique tick biology leads to endemic tick populations in the environment that are difficult to control.

Producers are encouraged to treat their livestock regularly ticks and other external parasites. Additionally, environmental control measures are recommended. For livestock owners these include keeping grass and weeds trimmed and clearing overgrown brush in pastures and yards. Consult with your local veterinarian regarding preventive strategies to control external parasites.

Additional information can be found here.