(NEW YORK POST) — Savage-as-hell ticks — which recently killed a fifth cow by sucking its blood until it died — are coming for us humans next.
Infectious disease researchers are becoming increasingly alarmed at the murderous Asian Longhorned tick, which has made its way from farm animals to an unsuspecting Yonkers man, Ars Technica reports.
The tick’s latest victim was a bull in North Carolina, which was found dead by exsanguination, meaning the 1,000-plus blood-plump ticks found on its body completely drained it of blood. Over the past year, the bull’s owner lost four other cows to the tick’s infestation, according to health officials in North Carolina.
The tick itself is scary for a lot of reasons: Chief among them is that a single well-fed female can clone herself without a male, birthing as many as 2,000 blood-thirsty spawn. Researchers also worry they could spread diseases to humans, such as the Powassan virus, according to a report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“The findings of this investigation suggest that public health messages may need to be changed, at least in certain geographic areas, to emphasize a wider range of potential tick habitats,” wrote the authors.
The news is especially grim given the tick’s first appearance on a human — in Yonkers, no less. A man doing yardwork in 2018 found the tick latched onto him, and brought it to health officials, fearing lyme disease.
This was a year after a lone sheep in New Jersey was found covered in the ticks — which promptly crawled up to investigators’ boots when they arrived to survey the situation.
Though the 66-year-old man was disease-free, the discovery was ominous. Investigators aren’t sure how the tick got from the sheep in New Jersey to the man’s yard in Yonkers.
And, shortly after they found the Yonkers tick, investigators located 90 other Asian longhorned ticks in the short, manicured grass near the man’s home — areas that typically aren’t of concern for other types of ticks, which prefer long grass in shady areas, investigators reported.
But it may be harder to avoid the Asian longhorned tick, which only get to a size of about 5 millimeters.
The Centers for Disease Control says that as of June 24, 2019, longhorned ticks have been found in Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.