Exotic East Asian Longhorned Tick Bites First Human in Connecticut: Officials

The first evidence of human biting by the exotic east Asian longhorned tick has been reported, according to the Tick Testing Laboratory at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Officials said the resident who was bit lives in Fairfield County.

The longhorned tick is an invasive species that was initially discovered on a farm in New Jersey in 2017 and has since been found in eight other states, including Connecticut. It was most recently detected in Connecticut in July of 2018, officials said.

The newly discovered tick feeds on a wide variety of mammals including humans, but it is unclear how often, according to researchers.

Longhorned ticks have been found to carry several human pathogens in Asia, but officials said it is unclear if this tick will be capable of transmitting pathogens such as the ones that cause things like Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis or Powassan virus.

"The identification of an Asian longhorned tick feeding on a state resident underscores the importance of our tick-testing program in helping to corroborate the capacity of this tick to bite humans outside of its native range. Going forward, it will be imperative to more fully assess the risk associated with this tick and its capacity to transmit local disease-causing pathogens," said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, the Director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The Tick Testing Laboratory at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tests nearly 4,000 ticks for three human disease causing agents annually.

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