TAHC lifts Olmal Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area in Starr and Hidalgo counties

Jul 29, 2011

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has released all remaining portions of Starr and Hidalgo counties from the temporary preventative quarantine zone, effective July 22.

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 was identified in an area north of Sullivan City on the border of Starr and Hidalgo counties. Prior to an official blanket being placed, a five-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 was identified. On May 20, 2011, blanket restric tions 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 TAHC has now determined that all areas currently within the quarantine zone have met the requirements for release and therefore the remaining Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area may be released. The release of the quarantine zone rescinds all movement restrictions placed on the livestock and wildlife within the Temporary Preven tative

Quarantine Area,” Dr. Dee Ellis, state veterinarian, said.

“This shows that the collaborative efforts between the USDA-Veterinary Services Tick Force, TAHC, the Texas cattle industry and local land owners are working successfully,” said Ellis.

“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.” — WLJ