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NEW YORK — An aggressive species of tick normally found in the South has been spreading into northern states as well, posing a risk to people and pets, according to published reports.
Wichita, Kan., ABC affiliate KAKE reported that the lone star tick, named for a white, star-like marking on its back, has been spreading into Kansas, while the McFarland, Wis., Thistle reported that they have been found in several counties in Wisconsin as well. Lone star ticks don't spread Lyme disease, but their bite can cause temporary allergies to red meat, as well as infectious diseases like ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In addition, while most ticks patiently wait on grass or other vegetation to latch on to passing humans or other animals, lone star ticks actively track and hunt their hosts.
According to research by IDEXX Labs, a Westbrook, Maine-based veterinary supplier, veterinarians have seen an increase in cases of ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection, in dogs, particularly in southern states.