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.
“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.”
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.
Schedule an interview
To secure an interview, email Ceci Leonard in the Media Relations office or call (540) 357-2500.
Virginia Tech's television and radio studio can broadcast live HD audio and video to networks, news agencies, and affiliates interviewing Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff. The university does not charge for use of its studio. Video is transmitted by LTN Global Communications and fees may apply. Broadcast quality audio for radio is transmitted via ISDN.