What fresh hell is this? The Asian longhorned tick creeping into NH?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Topside: Longhorned tick. Nymph and adult female, top view. CDC

CONCORD, NH – Just when you think it’s safe to stop worrying about tick season, the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food brings this public service announcement about a new tick. Read it and weep.

A particularly observant New Hampshire resident recently noticed a tick on a dog that was visiting here New Hampshire from an area in New York, where the Asian longhorned tick has been found in the environment. That tick and others were submitted for examination where it was confirmed as the Asian longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis (H. longicornis) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

This is the first time the pest has been found in New Hampshire, but it may be limited to the visiting dog.

The Asian longhorned tick has been identified in nine states since late 2017. Retrospective studies in some of those states show that the tick has been present in the United States since at least 2010. This tick is native to Southeast Asia, where it has been a pest of livestock, wildlife, and household pets. It appears to have less affinity for biting humans, though it will do so. To date no cases of harmful diseases have been found in these ticks in the United States, though it is known to transmit illness in other countries.

Underbelly of the Asian longhorned tick. CDC

The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, the NH Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the NH Fish and Game Department are asking veterinarians, physicians, animal owners, and outdoor enthusiasts to be alert for the presence of all ticks on patients, themselves and the animals with which they may have contact, domestic or wild.  People should use typical tick-avoidance strategies for themselves and the animals in their care – wear appropriate clothing, use insecticides and check yourself and your animals regularly.

The public’s assistance in monitoring ticks is appreciated and essential. New Hampshire agencies do not currently have the ability to perform routine tick surveillance, so we rely on residents to remain vigilant. Any unusual ticks should be submitted for identification through either a veterinarian or physician to the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food using this form.

“This tick already appears to be established in the environment in a number of states, so eradication from the US is unlikely,” said Steve Crawford, NH State Veterinarian. “The frequency of people traveling with animals they own, whether it is household pets going on vacation, horses going for trail rides, or livestock going to fairs, increases the potential for this tick to be spread across the country. Our hope with these messages is to prevent, for as long as possible, the introduction of H. longicornis  in New Hampshire. We are asking everyone to not only protect themselves from tick bites but to pay close attention to their animals as possible transporters of this tick, or any other, into New Hampshire.”

For more information, contact Steve Crawford, NH State Veterinarian at the NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food via email at  stephen.crawford@agr.nh.gov.

About the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food                                                                                                                                              The mission of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food is to support and promote agriculture and serve consumers and business for the benefit of the public health, environment and economy. For more information, visit www.agriculture.nh.gov.