(WFSB) - An aggressive human-biting and disease-carrying tick is rapidly expanding in Connecticut.
Scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station highlighted the rapid range expansion of the lone star tick for an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.
They said the lone star tick, scientifically referred to as Amblyomma americanum, has been expanding over the last four decades.
It had been limited to the southeastern United States.
However, they were recently found in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Established populations have now been documented across Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut.
According to Dr. Goudarz Molaei, director of the CAES Tick Testing Program, the number of lone star ticks submitted to the CAES Tick Testing Laboratory increased by 58 percent from the period of 1996-2006 to 2007-2017, mainly from Fairfield County.
In 2019, established populations of the tick were discovered in New Haven County for the first time.
The CAES described the tick as being associated with several human diseases and medical conditions, including tularemia, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis, Heartland virus disease, southern tick-associated rash illness, red meat allergy and probably the newly identified Bourbon virus disease.
The bites are also highly irritating.
Scientists said rising global temperatures, ecologic changes, reforestation, and increases in commerce and travel are important underlying factors influencing the rate and expansion for the ticks.
They also said that warming temperatures associated with climate change may lead to continued expansion.
Adult lone star ticks can be active from mid-March to late June, nymphs from mid-May to late July and larvae from July to September.
More information on Connecticut's tick testing can be found here.
Information about tick-borne diseases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be read here.