Illinois Detects Invasive Asian Longhorned Tick Capable of Laying Up to 2000 Eggs, Killing Livestock

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Springfield, IL – Illinois has confirmed the presence of the Asian longhorned tick, an invasive species, making it the 20th U.S. state to report this tick.

The discovery was made last month in Morgan County during a routine surveillance by the Illinois Department of Public Health, supported by a grant-funded program. Subsequent checks on Wednesday revealed two more ticks in the area.

Identification was validated by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. This marks the first time this tick species, known to potentially carry diseases affecting cattle and capable of rapid reproduction, has been identified in Illinois. Females can lay up to 2,000 eggs without mating, posing a significant risk of quick population growth.

Dr. Mark Ernst, State Veterinarian at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, highlighted the severe risks, noting, “In some cases of severe H. longicornis infestation, livestock death has been reported.” He urged continued vigilance in tick management plans.

Dr. Sameer Vohra, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, praised the surveillance program’s role in this discovery. He indicated that while the potential for these ticks to transmit infections to humans remains unclear, both the public health and agriculture departments are closely monitoring the situation to evaluate the risk to humans and livestock.

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