Leading experts in human allergy, parasitology and entomology came together Sunday morning to discuss the Lone Star tick, its geographic spread and the zoonotic diseases it can transmit. The panel, presented this morning during the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual convention in Indianapolis, was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Scott P. Commins, MD, Ph.D., an allergist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Brian Herrin, DVM, Ph.D., DACVM, a post-doctoral researcher at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Animal Health; and Thomas Mather, Ph.D., professor of entomology and director of the TickEncounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island, presented a review of the diseases transmitted by the Lone Star tick and noted that this parasite is being found in new areas of the U.S.
“Recent national news coverage has underscored the migration of the Lone Star tick to new areas of the U.S. and Canada1,” said Zach Mills, DVM, executive director, U.S. Pet Vet Veterinary Professional Services at BI. “This panel offered a timely discussion for veterinarians on the wide range of diseases this parasite can transmit, including the red meat allergy discovered by Dr. Commins and his colleagues.”
Three perspectives on the Lone Star tick
Herrin led off the session and captured attendees’ attention with a video showing hundreds of swarming ticks. He reviewed diseases that can be transmitted by the Lone Star tick and emphasized that, as the Lone Star tick expands into new territories across the country, more pet owners and their animals may be exposed to tick-borne illness.
Bites from these ticks can trigger an allergy to red meat. Commins is one of the allergists who identified the connection between the Lone Star tick and the alpha-gal allergy in humans in a highly cited 2011 study. Commins discussed his findings, the symptoms of the allergy and noted the influx of cases he’s seen recently as well as many others he has learned about from colleagues from Georgia to New York.
Mather, often referred to as the “TickGuy,” and who has raised more than $16 million to support his tick-borne disease research and outreach while publishing more than 110 papers on the subject, wrapped up the session memorably by presenting “Five Things Every Veterinarian Should Know About Lone Star Ticks.” During his presentation, Mather asked attendees, “Who knew they really are the “fastest” tick and that male Lone Stars, while common, are the least recognized tick in America?”
“We are pleased to have presented this experienced panel of scientists offering veterinarians different perspectives on the Lone Star tick from each doctor’s particular area of expertise,” Mills added.
About the Lone Star Tick
An aggressive biter even among tick species, the adult Lone Star tick feeds on its host for seven to 10 days According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is currently found in at least 30 states and is responsible for the transmission of serious zoonotic diseases including ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health
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