The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) confirmed the presence of cattle fever ticks on a Live Oak County premises on November 30, 2016. The infested premises is located approximately 110 miles outside of the Permanent Fever Tick Quarantine Zone.

Texas map Image/Urban
Texas map

The fever ticks were discovered on a bull when evaluated by a local veterinarian and identified at the TAHC State-Federal Laboratory. The infested premises has been placed under quarantine and all cattle on the premises have started treatment for fever ticks. TAHC is conducting an epidemiological investigation to determine the source of the fever ticks and trace outs from the premises.

A Control Purpose Quarantine Area (CPQA) has been established for systematic inspection of livestock and wildlife hosts in the portion of Live Oak County surrounding the infested premises. Producers located in the identified CPQA are being contacted by TAHC and USDA personnel.

Premises located within the CPQA are subject to movement restrictions, systematic inspections and potential treatment in accordance with the regulations in Title 4, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 41 Fever Ticks.

With the addition of Live Oak County, there are now four CPQAs outside of the Permanent Fever Tick Quarantine Zone, located in Jim Wells, Kleberg and Willacy counties. At present, there are approximately 450,000 acres under various types of fever tick quarantine outside of the Permanent Quarantine Zone, including a Temporary Preventative Quarantine Zone in Cameron County.

“When producers observe ticks on their livestock, it is imperative that they contact their local TAHC Livestock Inspector or region office, USDA Inspector, private veterinarian, or local AgriLife Extension office to arrange for collection and submission of tick samples to the TAHC laboratory in Austin, TX,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director. “This will help ensure the parasites are not cattle fever ticks.

Cattle Fever ticks, known scientifically as Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) annulatus and R. microplus, are a significant threat to the United States cattle industry. These ticks are capable of carrying the protozoa, or microscopic parasites, Babesia bovis or B. bigemina, which cause the disease commonly known as cattle fever. The Babesia organism attacks and destroys red blood cells, causing acute anemia, high fever, and enlargement of the spleen and liver, ultimately resulting in death for up to 90 percent of susceptible naive cattle.