Invasive new tick research halted because of government shutdown

Kevin Lahmers, a veterinary pathologist who first identified the Asian longhorned tick in Virginia, is collaborating with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to assess the disease threat. Lahmers says the shutdown has halted a risk assessment with the ticks and calves that are infected with a pathogen, also recently identified in Virginia.

According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the disease carrying Asian longhorned tick (or Haemaphysalis longicornis) is a threat to humans, pets, livestock and wildlife.

Quoting Lahmers

“Collaborations with USDA ARS in Pullman Washington are shutdown at this crucial time,”  said Lahmers. “We are ready to start determining if with the longhorned tick can transmit Theileria orientalis, another recently identified disease in Virginia, from calf to calf. However, because of the delay, we cannot begin this process to determine the risk this poses to cattle and how we might manage this risk. Delays will handicap our understanding of the disease dynamic and control strategies for the coming year.”

“In addition, cooperative agreement discussions for surveillance needed to support the cattle industry are suspended until the USDA partners are no longer furloughed.”

About Lahmers

Kevin Lahmers is a Clinical Associate Professor of Anatomic Pathology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. Read his full bio and list of some of his publications here.

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