Invasive ticks could become problem in Alaska

By  | 

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) According to a scientist from the University of Alaska Anchorage, non-native species of ticks may soon be a problem in Alaska.

There are six native species of ticks in the state, but in the last decade there have been reports on ticks not commonly seen in Alaska. These ticks are often brought to the state from people or pets that have been traveling to the lower-48. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

Scientists have been meeting in Fairbanks this week for the annual invasive species conferences. Attendees have been listening to presentations about different types of invasive species in Alaska and what can be done to slow them.

Epidemiologist Micah Hahn from UAA said that we could soon new problems from non-native ticks in Alaska.

There are six native species of ticks in the state, but in the last decade there have been reports on ticks not commonly seen in Alaska. These ticks are often brought to the state from people or pets that have been traveling to the lower-48.

Hahn said that the ticks native to Alaskan are not known to carry diseases, but ones from the states may. The University of Alaska, the Department of Fish and Game and the State Vet worked together to create the ‘submit a tick’ program in Alaska.

"So through this program, anyone in Alaska can submit a tick that they find on themselves, on pets or on wildlife to the state, and then we will ID it and do pathogen testing to see if it is carrying any diseases that can be transmitted to people or pets," Hahn said.

She said that even though they have still seen very few invasive species of ticks in Alaska, they want to make sure they get ahead of the problem and keep Alaskans safe.

Copyright 2019 KTVF. All rights reserved.