RALEIGH, N.C. (WFMY) -- A new species of tick has been discovered in North Carolina.
State health leaders are warning against the tick called the Longhorned Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis). It was discovered on an opossum in Polk County.
The Longhorned tick is an exotic, East Asian Tick. The tick can reproduce parthenogenetically without a male. That means the single female tick can create a population on its own. It’s a serious pest of livestock. It’s also an aggressive biter and frequently builds intense infestations on animals.
Health leaders also said the tick is known as a suspected carrier of several viral, bacterial, and protozoan agents of livestock and human diseases.
"There are a number of different tick-borne diseases in North Carolina and all of them, at least initially, can have somewhat similar symptoms, flu like symptoms. Which would be fever, fatigue, sometimes a rash, sometimes not, muscle aches and soreness, things like that," says Phyllis Smith, an Extension Agent at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Forsyth County.
The Longhorned tick is one of several species who can reproduce without a male. A female tick can reproduce quickly and create a localized population.
The Longhorned tick has been found in other states including Arkansas, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia.
If you find a tick on yourself or animal make sure to remove it as early as possible.
Showering immediately once you return home and checking for ticks can help deter a tick from attaching. You can protect yourself while outdoors by wearing long clothing, using DEET, picaridin, and other EPA approved repellents.