The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the finding of a longhorned tick, also referred to as an East Asian tick, in Virginia. The tick appeared on an orphaned calf on a beef farm in Albemarle County in mid-May.
Since then, it has also appeared in Warren County on some horses. The owners declined to speak about it.
“None have been found yet in Fauquier County,” Tim Mize, Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension agent in Warrenton, said of the tick that can cause disease in animals and humans. “They may be more widespread that we know.”
In late 2017, the tick, formally known as Haemaphysalis longicornis, was found initially in New Jersey. No known direct link exists from the Virginia farm to the area in New Jersey where the first ticks appeared on a sheep farm.
“We don’t know about the path the ticks took,” said Elaine Lidholm, of the Virginia Department of Agriculture. “From New Jersey, they jumped to Albemarle County and then to Warren County and now in West Virginia and Arkansas.”
Teams of researchers have not determined the path of any link from farm to farm or state to state.
“People may have seen it and didn’t realize they should report it,” Lindholm added. “If anyone sees a tick they have never seen before, please take it to your local extension office.”
Virginia state veterinary officials will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal and industry partners to determine the extent and significance of this finding.
Ticks are seen in the greatest numbers in spring and fall, but can persist through all four seasons, especially in warmer weather. Livestock producers should work with their herd veterinarians to develop a tick prevention and control program.
Reach Vicky Moon at firstname.lastname@example.org.