Articles: Press Release
Keep Fever Ticks from Spreading:
Preventive Tick Quarantine Set in Part of Starr County
Texas Animal Health Commission
Austin, Texas 78711
(800) 550-8242 FAX (512) 719-071
Bob Hillman, DVM • Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242,
ext. 710, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The fever tick quarantine zone in Starr County, Texas, has been expanded
temporarily, due to the threat of fever ticks beyond the permanent
"quarantine zone" that runs along the Rio Grande. Effective July 3
livestock can not be moved from the expanded preventive quarantine area
until the animals are manually inspected for fever ticks, dipped and
permitted for movement by personnel from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Fever Tick Force or the Texas Animal Health Commission
(TAHC). Fever ticks are capable of carrying and transmitting a
protozoa--or tiny animal parasite--that causes the deadly livestock
disease, "Texas Fever."
The temporary preventive quarantined area is bounded on the east by Ebanos
Road (Ebony Road) from its junction with U.S. Highway 83, then north on San
Julian Road to its junction with Sanchez Ranch Road (San Julian Road). The
northern boundary is comprised of Sanchez Ranch Road (San Julian Road),
south on Loma Blanca Road, then west on Hinojosa Ranch Road (Falcon Loop)
to its junction with U.S. Highway 83. The western edge is Highway 83 south
to the Ebony Road junction.
"At this time, we do not know the extent of the infestation in this
preventive fever tick quarantined area. However, tick infestation is
possible, and therefore, we must take extraordinary precautions to prevent
the spread of these very dangerous pests," said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas'
state veterinarian and executive director of the TAHC, the state's
livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. He explained that the
fever tick, if not contained, could become re-established, even through the
winter, throughout much of the south, southeast and parts of
California. In addition to cattle, horses, white-tailed deer, Nilgai and
elk can act as a host of the tick, perpetuating its population.
"It took more than 50 years to eradicate fever ticks from the U.S.," he
said. He noted that a permanent fever tick zone runs through eight South
Texas counties along the Rio Grande and is staffed by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's Fever Tick Force. Livestock moved from this permanent
quarantine zone also must be inspected, dipped and permitted prior to
movement. Tick inspections also are conducted at a number of South Texas
When tick-infested livestock are detected, the ranch and animals are
quarantined. Owners can choose to have their cattle inspected and dipped
every seven to 14 days for nine months, or the livestock can be dipped
repeatedly, until declared tick-free and moved to a new site, leaving the
infested pasture "vacated" for nine months, causing the ticks to
starve. Regardless of the option selected, wildlife, deer and other hoof
stock are provided treated feed, to kill fever ticks on these animals.
The Fever Tick Force also maintains vigilance along the permanent
quarantine zone to apprehend, inspect and dip stray livestock from Mexico,
where the fever tick still exists. Owners may reclaim their animals by
paying a nominal feed bill. Among the stringent health requirements for
livestock shipments from Mexico are fever tick inspection and dipping. If
an animal in a shipment is found to have fever ticks, the entire shipment
is rejected until it can be re-dipped and inspected.
"Keeping the fever tick out of the U.S. is essential," said Dr.
Hillman. "Infected ticks can kill thousands of cattle, and our ability to
move animals without restriction could be severely limited. The
implementation of this preventive fever tick quarantine is expected to be
temporary and will be released as soon as possible."