The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is reporting the rapid range expansion and established populations of the lone star tick in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.
The agency says there is a potential for altering the dynamics of a myriad of existing and emerging tick-borne diseases in the state and throughout the Northeast. Previously limited to the southeastern U.S., the lone star ticks have been detected in areas of the northeastern U.S with no previous record of activity including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
A research scientist who directs the Tick Surveillance and Testing Program says the number of lone star ticks submitted for testing increased by 58% from the period of 1996 through 2006 to 2007 through 2017, mainly from Fairfield County. Established populations of lone star ticks were discovered in Fairfield and New Haven Counties in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
As an aggressive human biter with highly irritating bites, the lone star tick has been associated with several human diseases and medical conditions, including tularemia, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis, Heartland virus disease, southern tick-associated rash illness, red meat allergy and likely the newly identified Bourbon virus disease.