US Funding to Control Fever Ticks Jumping Border

WASHINGTON, US - An additional $5.2 million has been made available to control outbreaks of cattle fever ticks occuring outside the quarantine zone on the borders of Texas and Mexico.
calendar icon 25 March 2008
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“We will work aggressively to stop the spread of the cattle fever tick and remove it,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs mission area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) who made the funding available say that although cattle fever-tick outbreaks do occur in a quarantine zone, the number of outbreaks within the zone has recently increased. Of greatest concern are outbreaks outside the quarantine zone, but APHIS has drawn additional quarantine areas to control these outbreaks.

Additional funding will provide more people, surveillance, training and treatments to ensure the containment and early detection of new infestations. More mounted inspectors will patrol against livestock harboring ticks crossing into Texas from Mexico. Additional animal health technicians will control outbreaks and surveillance outside the permanent quarantine zone.

The increase in outbreaks may be caused by any of the following factors:

  • a rise in ticks being transported across the Rio Grande River by wildlife, stray livestock or livestock illicitly moved into the United States;
  • weather patterns and rainfall amounts that favor tick survival;
  • movement of cattle from infested pastures to non-infested areas where ticks may infest and spread through wildlife;
  • discovery of cattle fever ticks resistant to a variety of pesticides.

Cattle fever ticks are capable of carrying and transmitting bovine babesiosis, a protozoal disease. Since 1943, both cattle fever ticks and bovine babesiosis have been eradicated from the United States, except for a permanent quarantine zone that was established in 1938 along the Rio Grande River in south Texas. Bovine babesiosis has caused significant economic damage to the U.S. cattle industry in the past through production losses and high mortality.

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