How to Avoid Tick Bites

CDC investigating Asian longhorned tick infestation in multiple states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multistate infestation of Asian longhorned ticks.

According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the fast-multiplying tick has been detected in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia on various species of domestic animals and wildlife and two humans.

The CDC is working with public health, agricultural and academic experts to determine the possible threat posed by such an infestation.

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“The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown,” Ben Beard, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said. “In other parts of the world, the Asian longhorned tick can transmit many types of pathogens common in the United States. We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations on animals, on people, and in the environment, is spreading in the United States.”

The tick reproduces at a much faster rate than most other species. One female tick can reproduce 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time without mating, meaning people, pets and livestock could have hundreds to thousands of ticks on or around them.

The CDC recommends the following to prevent tick bites on people:

  • Know to expect ticks in grassy, bushy or wooded areas and on animals -- including in your own yard or neighborhood.
  • Treat clothing with products that have 0.5 percent permethrin, a medication and insecticide. 
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Avoid wooded or bushy areas and areas with high grass.

More information on preventing tick bites on humans, pets and in the yard is at CDC.gov.

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