Is the East Asian Tick a Danger in Raleigh?

The East Asian tick is a new invasive tick species that has established itself in the United States for the first time. This tick has first discovered in New Jersey last fall. Experts were hoping that it would not make it through the winter, but have just confirmed that the tick species has firmly established itself in the area. They have also resisted several attempts to eliminate them completely.

Why Are People Worried About the East Asian Tick?

Ticks are common throughout the world, and there are already a number of ticks in all areas of the United States. The biggest issues with the East Asian tick is that it is the carrier for the SFTS virus. Symptoms of SFTS include a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a low platelet count, low white blood cell count, high liver enzyme levels and possible multiple organ failure. This virus has a relatively high fatality rate of 12%. Treatment for SFTS is primarily treating the symptoms of the fever and possible hemorrhage and monitoring the symptoms to keep the patient from developing complications. SFTS is a relatively new discovery and it is has been spread from person to person through contact of bodily fluids and blood. Currently, no cases of SFTS have been reported in the United States.

How Can I Identify the East Asian Tick?

Ticks can be difficult to identify because of their small size. The East Asian tick is brown and is usually fairly uniform in color. If you find a tick on you, once you remove it, you can place it on a cotton swab doused in rubbing alcohol and then store that in a Ziploc bag. You can take it into your doctor to have the tick tested and identified.

How Long Will It Take for the East Asian Tick to Reach Raleigh?

It is not clear how long it will take for the East Asian tick to reach the Raleigh area. The ticks in New Jersey were not found until last fall, and there are not reportedly thousands in the state. The ticks could travel on farm animals across state lines through shipping and regular transportation. They can also be moved by attaching to wildlife and eventually make their way south to Raleigh.

How Can I Protect My Family from Tick-Borne Illnesses?

While SFTS and the East Asian tick is making headlines right now, there are number of other serious tick-borne illnesses that can affect your family like Lyme disease and Rocky mountain spotted fever. These are more common and well established in the Raleigh area. With predictions for a record tick season this year, it is important to take precautions for your family. You can do this by wearing an effective bug spray that contains DEET any time you are in a tick-prone area. You can also protect your family be treating your yards for ticks.