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Exploring the use of an anti-tick vaccine as a tool for the integrated eradication of the cattle tick fever tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus
- Miller, Robert, Estrada-Peña, Agustin, Almazán, Consuelo, Allen, Andrew, Jory, Lauren, Yeater, Kathleen, Messenger, Matthew, Ellis, Dee, Pérez de León, Adalberto A.
- ARS USDA Submissions 2012 v.30 pp. 5682
- Boophilus annulatus, Boophilus microplus, Rhipicephalus, babesiosis, biosecurity, cattle, computers, habitats, models, pastures, pest control programs, prediction, quarantine, risk, ticks, vaccination, vaccines, Mexico, Texas
- Bovine babesiosis, also known as cattle fever, is a tick-borne protozoal disease foreign to the United States. It was eradicated by eliminating the vector species, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, through the efforts of the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP), with the exception of a permanent quarantine zone (PQZ) in south Texas along the border with Mexico. Keeping the U.S. free of cattle fever ticks in a sustainable manner is a critical national agricultural biosecurity issue. The efficacy of a Bm86-based anti-tick vaccine commercialized outside of the U.S. was evaluated against a strain of R. annulatus originated from an outbreak in Texas. Vaccination controlled 99.9 and 91.4% of the ticks 8 weeks and 5.5 months after the initial vaccination, respectively. Computer modeling of habitat suitability within the PQZ typically at risk of re-infestation with R. annulatus from Mexico predicted that at a level of control greater than 40%, eradication would be maintained indefinitely. Efficacy and computer modeling data indicate that the integration of vaccination using a Bm86-based anti-tick vaccine with standard eradication practices within the northwestern half of the PQZ could incentivize producers to maintain cattle on pasture thereby avoiding the need to vacate infested premises. Implementing this epidemiologically proactive strategy offers the opportunity to prevent R. annulatus outbreaks in the U.S., which would represent a significant shift in the way the CFTEP operates.