Tick fever outbreak only takes one animal

Tick fever outbreak only takes one animal


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NSW Department of Primary Industries regulatory officers Chris Knight and Kristy Saul have been working with landholders to control tick fever. Photo by Samantha Townsend.

NSW Department of Primary Industries regulatory officers Chris Knight and Kristy Saul have been working with landholders to control tick fever. Photo by Samantha Townsend.

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It only takes one animal carrying cattle ticks with the tick fever organism for an outbreak to occur.

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A bull from a tick infested zone of Queensland that may have been carrying cattle ticks containing the tick fever organism has impacted 6745 cattle.

The tick fever then killed 63 head of cattle and impacted 94 herds from Bulahdelah north to Bellingen and west to Tamworth.

Those properties were put under official movement restrictions, which meant any cattle leaving the property needed to be inspected and treated to make sure they did not have cattle ticks.

But a combined task force of NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services staff as well as landholders has seen the tick fever outbreak under control.

Of the herds originally affected, there are now 49 under movement restrictions including 11 properties still infested with cattle ticks that are undergoing treatment programs to eradicate the problem.

NSW Department of Primary Industries cattle tick operations leader Larry Falls said the initial outbreak was first detected in the Kendall region in April last year.

Since the outbreak was detected an infringement notice has been issued to a Victorian livestock transporter for failing to provide evidence of completing mandatory cattle tick requirements prior to bringing a bull from a tick zone to a mid-north coast property.

“Our regulatory officers found no evidence that a bull moved from Queensland to a Kendall property had undergone the mandatory tick inspection and treatment requirements before entering NSW,” Mr Falls said.

Mr Falls said cattle tick was the most serious external parasite of cattle in Australia, with an estimated annual cost to the industry of more than $160 million.

“One animal is all it takes,” Mr Falls said.

“It’s a reminder to anyone transporting cattle into NSW from tick infested areas that they must follow proper procedures.”

Since April, tick inspection officers have been going around to the week day cattle sales across the Mid North Coast carrying out examinations on cattle sold.

“We are all under control and a lot of the properties are in their final eradication treatment,” Mr Falls said.

The last time there was an outbreak in the Kempsey region was around four years ago.

According to NSW DPI, cattle tick is a notifiable disease under the NSW Biosecurity Regulation 2015.

More information about cattle tick, the program that works to keep NSW tick-free due to movement controls from tick infested areas and tick fever is available from NSW DPI website.

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