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The Texas Beef Industry Fears Cattle Fever Ticks

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The Texas beef industry has a new, pressing worry – cattle fever ticks. These small bugs have reached endemic levels in Mexico, so they could soon spread to Texas.

The U.S. House Agricultural Committee has met with stakeholders in the United States beef industry to discuss what to do with this pending problem. Bovine Vet Online reports that cattle fever often kills the cow. “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.”

The ticks have already spread along the Gulf Coast due to the movement of wild Asian antelope called nilgai and white-tailed deer carrying the insects. In order to halt the spread of the disease-carrying ticks, the industry plans to work with the federal government and temporarily quarantine roughly 300,000 acres of land.

Bovine Vet Online says the government and industry will implement a three-step plan that includes keeping cattle on federal land to treat them periodically, strategically treating other wildlife at set times with a “broad-spectrum parasite treatment,” and reducing some wildlife populations that pose a threat.

More information on the fever tick briefing can be heard here.