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MU researchers discover Longhorned Tick in northern Missouri

An extremely aggressive tick species that causes devastating impacts to cattle has been found in Linn County by University of Missouri researchers.

State Veterinarian Dr. Steve Strubberg says the Asian Longhorned Tick depletes the animal of its red blood cells. “Ticks do spread disease, and this particular species has been shown to spread a few different diseases in other parts of the world,” he said. “That has us concerned too.”

The tick can also transmit diseases like Theileriosis that cause cattle to be unthrifty, have reproductive issues, abortions, and sometimes death.

The Longhorned Tick is roughly the size of a sesame seed and can be difficult to see. Strubberg says Missouri cattle producers should monitor their herds for tick infestations. And when bringing new cattle into their herds, he says, “They need to isolate them and not expose them to their own animals until they are very confident they are healthy.”

Strubberg says the researchers found the tick during some environmental sampling and did not discover it on an animal. “They found a couple of immature stages of the Longhorned Tick,” he said. “I guess two immature nymphs is what the stage was.”

The Asian Longhorned Tick was first identified in the US in 2017 and originated in eastern Russia and the Australasian region.

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