The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have confirmed the presence of cattle fever ticks on Cameron County premises located outside the permanent quarantine zone.
In order to protect the land, premises and animals from exposure to cattle fever ticks, the TAHC is creating a temporary preventative quarantine area (also commonly known as the "TPQA" or "Blanket Area") in Cameron County. This TPQA, and its requirements, will become effective Oct. 7, 2014.
The TPQA consists of approximately 223,000 acres. The TPQA will be in effect until all premises within it are released from fever tick quarantines and the area is determined to no longer be at risk of infestation. Within this area, all livestock (cattle and equine) and live or hunted wildlife (such as nilgai antelope and white-tailed deer) that are capable of hosting fever ticks are subject to movement restrictions, inspections and treatment as prescribed by TAHC fever tick regulations.
The Temporary Preventative Quarantined Area is defined as that portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning at a point in Cameron County where Farm to Market Road (FM) 511 and Captain Donald L. Foust Road intersect (25.950997;-97.412259); thence, northwest along FM 511 for 9.43 miles to FM 803 (26.028682; -97.530968); thence, north along FM 803 for 21.3 miles to FM 2925 (26.335137; -97.491350); thence, east along FM 2925 for 7.28 miles to the east side of the Adoplh Thomae Jr. County Park eastern-most parking lot (26.349462; -97.390468) (parking lot); thence, north along the east side of the parking lot for 61.3 yards to the Arroyo Colorado (26.349960; -97.390577); thence, east along the Arroyo Colorado shoreline for 4.45 miles to Laguna Madre (26.353917; -97.325179); thence, southeast along the Laguna Madre shoreline for 55.33 miles to the Brownsville Navigation District Ship Channel (26.064276; -97.775511) (Brownsville Ship Channel); thence, southwest along the Brownsville Ship Channel for 16.4 miles to the point on Windhaus Road that is a straight line southwest of the Brownsville Ship Channel (25.952057; -97.403765); thence, north along Windhaus Road for .1 mile to Captain Donald L. Foust Road (25.952738; -97.404135); thence, west along Captain Donald L. Foust Road for .52 miles to FM 511 (25.950997; -97.412259), the beginning.
Fever ticks, known scientifically as Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) annulatus and R. microplus, are capable of carrying the protozoa, or microscopic parasites, Babesia bovis or B. bigemina. Infected fever ticks inject the protozoan into the bloodstream of cattle as they feed. 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% of susceptible naive cattle.
There currently exists a permanent cattle fever tick quarantine zone which ranges from 200 yards to 10 miles wide along the Rio Grande River. This strip of land extends 500 miles long, through eight South Texas counties, alongside the Rio Grande River from Devils River to the Gulf of Mexico. It was created as a buffer zone to Mexico, where fever ticks are common. This zone allows tick incursions from Mexico to be detected and eliminated quickly, so that cattle in the zone do not potentially spread fever ticks into the interior of the state.
An informational public meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. at the Los Fresnos Community Center (right next to City Hall). The address of the center is 204 N. Brazil Street, Los Fresnos, TX. Interested Cameron County cattle and equine owners, veterinarians, hunters, and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend this public meeting. TAHC and USDA officials will provide key information regarding the TPQA, movement restrictions, etc.
For more information about the temporary preventative quarantine area and movement requirements, call 956-546-6004. For additional information about the Cattle Fever Tick visit the following websites:
Founded in 1893, the Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.