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HomeNewsArchivesDeadly Tick Find Prompts Agriculture to Take Action

Deadly Tick Find Prompts Agriculture to Take Action

The V.I. Agriculture Department has been forced to control cattle movements after a population of tropical bont ticks, which carry deadly cattle and ruminant diseases, were found recently in the Golden Grove area on St. Croix.
A farmer discovered the ticks on a herd of sheep and cattle and called the Agriculture Department’s veterinary division, according to a statement from Agriculture.
Veterinary staff immediately collected the ticks and submitted them to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, where they were positively identified as the bont tick—the first bont tick finding in the territory since April 2008.
The tropical bont tick is a large, brightly colored tick that has the potential to carry heartwater, a fatal disease in livestock. Heartwater does not affect people, and generally does not affect dogs or cats, but is usually and quickly fatal in cattle and sheep.
"The Division of Veterinary Services has continued working diligently to eradicate the bont tick since it was last seen in 2008," said Bethany Bradford, director of veterinary services at Agriculture. "The staff of four examines over 1,000 animals a month and offers a free tick spraying service for all registered animals during scheduled farm visits."
Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen Jr. is asking livestock and horse owners on St. Croix to help in the ongoing eradication effort. Farms in the affected area are all being inspected and all animals will be tagged and registered. Movement of animals is being strictly monitored and all owners needing to move animals will have to call Agriculture in advance for inspection and a pass.
All animals brought to the abattoir will also need movement passes and tags.
To find out more, call Bradford at 778-0998 ext. 252.

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