Bovine babesiosis: FFAR Grant Addresses Cattle Fever Tick Re-Invasion in Texas

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Apr. 30 2020

Bovine babesiosis: FFAR Grant Addresses Cattle Fever Tick Re-Invasion in Texas

cattle

In addition to market volatility threats from the current COVID-19 pandemic, Texas cattle ranchers have been battling another threat: the southern cattle fever tick (Rhipicephalus microplus). This tick can carry pathogens that cause deadly cattle fever, bovine babesiosis, for which there is no vaccine or treatment. When the tick is found on cattle, ranches or even adjacent areas, all cattle must be quarantined – which causes significant economic hardship.

Cattle fever ticks were eradicated in the US in 1943, with the exception of a permanent quarantine area along the border between South Texas and Mexico. White-tailed deer and nilgai facilitated the reintroduction of the tick outside the quarantine areas and into other areas of Texas. Cattle fever ticks are a threat if they carry the cattle fever pathogens, which can kill 70 to 90 percent of infected cattle. While no ticks in the US have tested positive for the pathogens, they are present in Mexico.

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