At least 50 premises in Zapata County are in a temporary preventive quarantine area designated August 29 to prevent the spread of the cattle fever tick. The quarantine, issued by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), requires that livestock being hauled within or from the designated area first be manually inspected for cattle fever ticks, dipped, and permitted by personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Fever Tick Force or the TAHC.

"Fever ticks are capable of carrying and transmitting a protozoa — or tiny blood parasite — that destroys red blood cells, causing the deadly livestock disease, 'cattle tick fever,'" noted Dr. Bob Hillman, head of the TAHC, the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency.

"This preventive quarantine in Zapata County is essential for detecting, containing and rapidly eliminating fever ticks from the area. The provisions of the quarantine will be released as soon as possible."

For questions about premises within the temporary preventive quarantine, or to arrange for livestock inspection and/or dipping, ranchers should contact Austin Knox of the USDA Tick Force at 956-765-4377.