How did a tick that’s native to East Asia make it to rural New Jersey?
That’s the question puzzling researchers. The backstory involves a panicky sheep owner, tick-covered humans and a pair of pants stuck in the freezer.
The tick in question is Haemaphysalis longicornis — also known as the longhorn tick or bush tick. It can reproduce by essentially cloning itself, allowing it to multiply quickly. It feeds on the blood of a variety of mammals, including people. In China, it has been linked to the spread of SFTS virus, described in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as “an emerging hemorrhagic fever.”
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