Rising threat: the Lone Star tick's northern expansion

The Lone Star tick's northward expansion brings new health challenges, as it carries diseases like ehrlichiosis, alpha-gal syndrome, and the Bourbon virus.

Rene Ebersole reports for Undark Magazine.


In short:

  • The Lone Star tick, known for its aggressive behavior and unique diseases, is spreading northward, now established from Florida to Maine and as far west as Nebraska.
  • This tick species carries several diseases, including ehrlichiosis, alpha-gal syndrome (a red meat allergy), and the potentially fatal Bourbon virus.
  • Environmental changes, such as warmer winters and recovering forests, along with an increase in white-tailed deer populations, are contributing to this expansion.

Key quote:

"It’s kind of this perfect storm for them to be taking over."

— Andrea Egizi, Tick researcher

Why this matters:

The northward spread of the Lone Star tick, linked to climate change and environmental shifts, underscores the evolving nature of vector-borne diseases and their impact on national health.

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