An invasive tick species native to Asia that’s been spreading across the eastern United States has been found for the first time in New York City.
The city health department announced Wednesday that the longhorned tick has been spotted in the borough of Staten Island.
The tick is primarily known for transmitting disease to livestock and wild animals, and has not been linked to human diseases in the United States.
However, it’s been known to spread a potentially deadly virus called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) to humans in Asia.
Longhorned ticks spread a potentially deadly virus called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) to humans in Asia
Every year ticks start to emerge in May, June and July, bringing with them an increased risk of tick-borne diseases.
The first longhorned tick in the United States was found last summer in New Jersey.
Since then the ticks have been spotted in suburban New York and in states including Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
The chief concern with the longhorned ticks is SFTS.
SFTS has never before been reported in North America, but the longhorned tick could change that.
SFTS causes severe fever and low blood platelet counts that can be fatal
Symptoms include fatigue, chills, headache, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
It’s too early to tell which North American diseases the tick can transmit, but in Asia it’s been shown to spread diseases related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever and anaplasmosis.