New tick threat addressed by law just signed


ALBANY – Legislation to protect New York’s livestock industry from the Asian longhorned tick was signed into law.

The measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D, Hudson) and Senator Jennifer Metzger (D, Rosendale) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to include the Asian longhorned tick on the state’s invasive species list and on the DEC’s comprehensive plan for invasive species management. It also calls for the Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop and distribute to farmers an informational pamphlet on Asian longhorned tick treatment, management and prevention.

The East Asian longhorned tick, first reported in the United States in 2017, is the first new invasive tick species to enter the country in 50 years, and is currently found in seven states including parts of New York.

Metzger noted that the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions that she represents have the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the state.

As of August 2019, there were no reported instances of the longhorned tick being harmful to humans, but the invasive arachnid can transmit diseases to livestock including sheep, cattle, and horses, and has also been found on people, pets and wildlife.

In Asia, the species carries a virus that kills 15 percent of victims through hemorrhaging, organ failure, and blood loss. Female tickets can reproduce without mating, laying thousands of eggs after a single feed, in turn covering animals with the external parasites.

The legislation will also compel public awareness of active ingredients approved by the EPA and DEC, as well as natural remedies and land care practices that are most effective in tick prevention to better protect livestock, people and pets from exposure.

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