Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research
Title: Overview of the U.S. Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program: History and Challenges Authors
Submitted to: National Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 11, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP) carried out by the Veterinary Services (VS) branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been in continuous operation for 106 years. Through the efforts of this program cattle fever ticks and the disease they transmit to cattle, called Texas Fever, has been eliminated from an area of more than 700,000 square miles within the U.S. border. Throughout the history of the program there have been numerous difficulties that have been overcome in the fight to protect the U.S. cattle herd from these deadly disease vectors. Since 1961 there have been no cattle fever tick infestations in the U.S. outside of the 8 southernmost counties in Texas that lie adjacent to the Texas-Mexico border. The permanent quarantine zone stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to Del Rio, Texas over 600 miles along the Rio Grande River. Ticks are prevented from re-establishing in the U.S. by means of strict regulations that require all livestock to be treated in an approved pesticide before being allowed to enter the country. Any ticks found on premises in the U.S. are quarantined and all livestock must either be dipped every 14 days for a period of 6-9 months or all livestock must be removed from the premises for the same 6-9 month period before the quarantine is lifted. Today the 2 factors that pose the greatest risk to the continued success of the eradication are 1) the presence of pesticide-resistant populations of ticks and 2) the maintenance and dispersal of cattle fever ticks by an ever increasing population of ungulate wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, which can sustain and disperse ticks for an extended period of time, thereby preventing eradication of the ticks within the specified quarantine period.