The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is proud to announce the arrival of a new tool in fever tick eradication efforts. The new fever tick vaccine will be a valuable tool for reducing the risk of new fever tick infestations in quarantine areas such as the tick eradication quarantine area, or permanent quarantine zone, and in temporary preventative or control quarantine areas.
After more than five years of cooperative research and development between USDA - Agricultural Research Services (ARS), USDA - Veterinary Services (VS) and Zoetis, the first doses of the vaccine were delivered to TAHC on May 17. Plans are underway to hold producer meetings in the counties along the permanent quarantine zone to provide information on the effectiveness and use of the vaccine and provide producers the opportunity to ask questions. The dates of these meetings will be set in the coming weeks.
"There are numerous benefits of the fever tick vaccination, with the most significant being the potential to prevent the establishment of fever tick infestations on properties where cattle are being grazed. Additionally, the vaccine will be another tool aiding in more rapid eradication of fever ticks on infested premises," said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director.
Vaccinating cattle on a property with fever ticks will help assure that ticks are eradicated as quickly as possible under established gathering, inspection, and treatment schedules. While proper use of the vaccine helps assure ticks are eradicated as soon as possible so quarantines can be lifted, it does not eliminate the need to do regular inspections.
The vaccine will be administered by state or federal regulatory personnel at no cost to the producer. It is approved for use in beef cattle only, two months of age and older. To be most effective, the vaccine should be administered as two priming doses given 28 days apart followed by a booster every 6 months.
TAHC, USDA-VS, and USDA-ARS continue to investigate other treatment and/or preventative products to find additional options with comparable efficacy, greater residual effect, better protection from both strains of fever ticks found in current infestations in Texas, and less frequent treatments in an effort to achieve fever tick eradication.
During the 395th Meeting on May 24, the Commission adopted rules calling for administration of the vaccine to beef cattle residing in the permanent quarantine zone during the annual inspection. Additionally, the vaccine may be administered to beef cattle on premises with high risk of fever tick infestation such as those maintained in control and temporary quarantine areas.
To learn more about the cattle fever tick and current eradication practices view this Cattle Fever Tick Brochure from TAHC.