The first appearance of an Asian tick has been found in Pennsylvania and that has livestock owners worried.
A longhorned tick, native to Australia and Western Pacific regions, was found on a wild white-tailed deer in Potter Township in Centre County in July.
It had previously been found over the last year in New Jersey, Arkansas, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and West Virginia.
The first new tick to be found in the United States in 50 years, it was believed the first new case was last summer when an infestation of the ticks were found on a sheep herd in western New Jersey.
However, a re-examination of previous tick samples found one from 2013 in the state.
The ticks have been found in the seven states so far on horses, goats, cattle, sheep, humans, an opossum, raccoons and dogs.
“The recent identification of the longhorned ticks in multiple states suggests that is likely established,” the Game Commission said in a news release.
“Many questions remain about the ecology of this tick and the impacts it will have on the health of humans and animals.”
So far, with limited testing, there is no evidence the ticks have transmitted diseases or viruses to humans or livestock.
But in their native range, they carry at least five diseases and a virus that kills 15 percent of its human victims.
Officials think its greatest potential threat in the U.S. may be to livestock. The ticks, which can reproduce without a male, tend to infest warm-blooded animals.
“This causes great stress on the animal, reducing its growth and production,” said the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a fact sheet. “A severe infestation can kill the animal due to blood loss.”
Dark brown in color, the tick is about the size of a poppy seed, or the size of a pea when engorged with blood.
Officials recommend livestock and pet owners use the same tick-prevention methods they use for domestic pets.
Story re-posted from Ad Crable, Lancaster Online