State releases additional acres from temporary quarantine area
AUSTIN -- The Texas Animal Health Commission has released all remaining portions of Starr and Hidalgo counties from the temporary preventive quarantine zone, effective July 22, according to a July 26 press release.
The Olmal Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area, consisting of 152,716 acres (239 square miles), was established on July 2, 2009, after a cluster of infested premises were identified in an area north of Sullivan City, on the border of Starr and Hidalgo counties. Prior to an official blanket being placed, a 5-mile area, and then a 10-mile surveillance/movement control area, had been established around the first identified infestations. Eventually, a cluster of 22 infested premises were identified. On May 20, 2011, blanket restrictions were officially released from a western section of the blanket consisting of 59,100 acres after all release requirements had been met.
Cattle fever ticks are capable of carrying and transmitting “babesia,” a blood parasite deadly to cattle. The fever ticks are common in Mexico, but are not normally found in Texas.
“The release of the quarantine zone rescinds all movement restrictions placed
on the livestock and wildlife within the Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area,” said Dr. Dee Ellis, state veterinarian.
“This shows that the collaborative efforts between the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture]-Veterinary Services Tick Force, TAHC [Texas Animal Health Commission], the Texas cattle industry, and local land owners are working successfully,” Ellis said. “TAHC and USDA will continue to work with local land owners to maintain effective surveillance efforts to help ensure this pest does not reoccur in the area.”
For more information about the cattle fever tick, visit the TAHC website at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/animal_health/fevertick/fevertick.html.