The Asian longhorned tick is reportedly in our region, but is it a danger to us?

Kim Glovas
December 04, 2018 - 5:26 pm
Yellow warning sign `beware of ticks` at a sunny clearing in the forest

ID 117747691 © Heiko Barth | Dreamstime.com

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new tick has turned up in the Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But experts are saying it's still uncertain how dangerous it could be here. 

The Asian longhorned tick is being called an "emerging" threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Douglas Fearn of the Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania says there hasn't been a lot of research on this tick yet, so it's uncertain how dangerous it is.

"In Asia, it carries some pretty serious diseases, but the question is can those diseases exist in our climate. They may just be tropical diseases," he said. 

It was first detected in New Jersey in 2017. 

Fearn says the real problem is if the Asian longhorned tick will follow in the footsteps of the deer and dog ticks.

"There is some concern that these ticks will acquire Lyme disease and the other tick-borne diseases that we have in North America," he said. 

Fearn says the best way to protect yourself from any of the bloodsucking bugs is to check yourself whenever you are out in nature.

"The way we recommend, is for people to wear clothing that's been permanently treated with permethrin, which is a very safe substance, that binds to the cloth in the clothing and kills ticks on contact," he said. 

Fearn says you can find it at sporting goods stores or online.