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Fairfield County Town Issues Alert After Tick Species Found To Be Established In Area

Asian longhorned tick
Asian longhorned tick Photo Credit: By James Gathany - https://phil.cdc.gov/Details.aspx?pid=22873, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71920307

A Fairfield County town is urging residents to take precautions following the discovery that Asian longhorned ticks have become well-established in the area.

The Town of Fairfield announced on Tuesday, June 21, that researchers at Western Connecticut State University’s Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory discovered a week earlier that the ticks were found on a resident's dog.

WCSU conducted sampling on Monday, June 20, in the overflow grass parking areas of Penfield Beach and other areas at Jennings Beach and found "a significant number" of the ticks, officials said. 

Officials said this indicates the ticks are now well-established in the Fairfield Beach area.

The town said the ticks are known to spread disease outside of the United States but are not known to do so in the US at this time.

"These ticks can be a concern to livestock, and at some point in the future, they may become a vector for diseases in the US," town officials said. "The Town is working with the WCSU research team to implement recommended mitigation strategies and the Town has already begun the process of trimming back bushes, grasses and other plants from beach area sidewalks and other walking areas to reduce the risk of ticks attaching to people and pets."

The health department is urging residents to take steps to prevent tick bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared strategies to prevent tick bites here.

Officials said people who find a tick bite should carefully remove the tick with tweezers and try to keep the full body intact. 

The tick should then be put in a Ziploc bag and brought to the Fairfield Health Department so staff can determine the tick species, the town said.

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