By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Missouri agriculture officials have confirmed the first finding of an Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in Missouri.

Image/Robert Herriman

Missouri becomes the 16th state with a presence of the tick species, following the first confirmed report of the Asian longhorned tick in the United States in 2017.

Asian longhorned ticks are light brown in color and are very small, often smaller than a sesame seed. Unlike other ticks, a single female Asian longhorned tick can produce offspring (as many as 1,000 at a time) without mating. That means individual animals could host thousands of ticks, which can cause great stress on a heavily infested animal.

The Department encourages producers to continue protective measures and to check their livestock regularly for ticks. Keeping grass and weeds trimmed and clearing away brush are important tick prevention practices. If you spot any unusual looking ticks or large infestations on your animals, contact your local veterinarian.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Asian longhorned tick appears to be less attracted to human skin. However, ticks of any kind should be removed immediately, as they can carry diseases that affect human health. Use EPA-approved insect repellent when you will be in or near tall grasses or wooded areas.

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