Health officials are warning New York residents of a new species of tick that may pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock, mainly cattle, sheep, and horses.

This new tick is an East Asian tick called a longhorned or bush tick and thousands are in Westchester County.

CBS News reports the longhorned tick discovery started with a call:

"A phone call from a resident in Hunterdon County that her sheep was infested with a lot of ticks..she was also covered in the same ticks," research microbiologist James Occi told the station... Occi works with entomologists at Rutgers University who tested the ticks. He said steps were taken to kill them, but... found a number of the pests survived.

...East Asian ticks have been known to spread a deadly virus called SFTS, which stands for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Thrombocytopenia means a low blood platelet count, according to the Mayo Clinic...Symptoms of SFTS include fever, fatigue, chill, headache, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, disease of the lymph nodes, and conjunctival congestion. In some cases, it can lead to death. [CBS News]

The New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture & Markets are warning New York residents, visitors and farmers about the continued importance of taking measures to protect against ticks.

The longhorned tick is not native to the United States and is commonly found in Australia, New Zealand, and eastern Asia where the tick has transmitted disease to humans. The ticks have recently turned up in New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas. More research is needed to determine if the spread of disease via the new tick is possible in the United States. 

The tick may threaten most varieties of livestock. Farmers should continue to work with their veterinarians to check their animals, particularly cattle, sheep, and horses, for exposure to ticks and to ensure their parasite control plans are up to date and working. Symptoms of tick-borne disease in cattle include fever, lack of appetite, dehydration, weakness and labored breathing.

If longhorned ticks are suspected, farmers should consult with their veterinarians and contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Division of Animal Industry at 518-457-3502 or

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