“Concerning the deer hide in question, there is probably a low chance of the ticks contaminating cattle in Texas. Cattle fever ticks are generally a one-host threat and only the female drops off the host to lay her eggs. But if the ticks in question were fully engorged, there is a potential the tick could infect cattle, horses, domestic deer and such,” Pound adds.

“We have a zero tolerance to cattle fever in the U.S. and that is why we have such a comprehensive program of eradication and inspections.”

USDA-APHIS considers the potential of fever ticks being purposefully introduced into the U.S. cattle market and inspectors are careful in evaluating all instances of cross-border contamination.

“When we think of bioterrorism we usually think about contamination of the food supply system. But fever ticks, for example, could be another method of creating drastic damage to food delivery systems, such as widespread infection of U.S. cattle herds.”

“We spend great amounts of manpower and resources to make certain this doesn’t happen,” he adds.