Researchers at Kansas State University are the first in the country to look into methods of keeping a foreign tick-borne livestock disease at bay.

The Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases recently received $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an additional $75,000 from the Kansas National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to build upon past research into containing and controlling heartwater disease. Heartwater is deadly to cattle, sheep, and goats.

Center Director Roman Ganta and his team recently published results of the first heartwater risk assessment experiments in sheep. While heartwater originally was identified as a sub-Saharan African disease, it has been established in several Caribbean islands, posing a potential threat to the U.S. cattle industry.

The project will be the first to have strategic collaborations with the USDA and NBAF. Developing better methods of controlling heartwater will be critical in improving food animal health and the economies in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Caribbean where the disease is widespread.

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