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posted by hubie on Saturday November 19, @03:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the ticked-off dept.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/11/17/1063352/new-tick-borne-disease-killing-cattle-in-us/

In the spring of 2021, Cynthia and John Grano, who own a cattle operation and sell performance horses in Culpeper County, Virginia, started noticing some of their cows slowing down and acting "spacey." They figured the animals were suffering from anaplasmosis, a common infectious disease that causes anemia in cattle. But Melinda McCall, their veterinarian, had warned them that another disease carried by a parasite was spreading rapidly in the area.

After a third cow died, the Granos decided to test its blood. Sure enough, the test came back positive for the disease: theileria. And with no treatment available, the cows kept dying. In September, by which time the couple had already lost six cows and seven calves, Cynthia noticed a cow separated from the herd. She was walking up to it when it suddenly charged at her and knocked her over, breaking her shoulder blade. By that afternoon, the cow was dead.

[...] Theileria, which is in the same family as malaria, is being transmitted largely through the Asian longhorned tick, an invasive species first discovered in the US in 2017. The tick is native to Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. As it has spread in the US, so has theileria; the disease has been found in cattle in West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Kansas. Some sale barns in Virginia saw the prevalence of theileria increase from two to 20 percent in just two years.

Theileria can cause cows to abort their fetuses. It can also cause anemia so severe that a cow will die. In Australia, where the disease has been spreading since 2012 and now affects a quarter of the cattle, theileria costs the beef industry an estimated $19.6 million a year in reduced milk and meat yields, according to a 2021 paper. In Japan and Korea, the combined loss is an estimated $100 million annually. Kevin Lawrence, an associate professor at Massey University who studies theileria in New Zealand, says that country has managed to avoid abortions because 95 percent of cows calve in the spring there, the same season he's seen theileria infecting cows. In the US, however, calving season can be year-round. "I think in America, you're going to see abortions," he says. "You're going to see deaths."


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by istartedi on Saturday November 19, @05:07AM (3 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Saturday November 19, @05:07AM (#1280446) Journal

    When I saw this being referred to as "abortion", I thought the summary was obsessed with politics; but it turns out this is the accepted term for what we would usually call a "miscarriage" in humans. I googled around a bit for miscarriage in cows, but even when they did use that term they often mixed in "abortion". Some sites refer to "pregnancy loss", but by and large "abortion" seems to be the common term and I have to wonder, why?

    In humans miscarriage is outside of the woman's control. The word "abortion" implies intent, which seems unlikely in cattle unless they actually know they're pregnant and are doing things like instinctively eating weeds that would make them miscarry, but in my brief googling on the topic I didn't see anything about that.

    Language is strange sometimes. Does anybody have more insight in to why the terms are different for cattle and humans?

    • (Score: 2) by Muad'Dave on Saturday November 19, @06:02AM

      by Muad'Dave (1413) on Saturday November 19, @06:02AM (#1280455)

      I've heard of spontaneous abortion [uptodate.com] used for what's now more commonly called a miscarriage in humans.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday November 19, @06:37AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 19, @06:37AM (#1280464) Journal

      From Online Etymology Dictionary: [etymonline.com]

      1540s, "the expulsion of the fetus before it is viable," originally of deliberate as well as unintended miscarriages;

      And a bit down:

      In 19c. some effort was made to distinguish abortion "expulsion of the fetus between 6 weeks and 6 months" from miscarriage (the same within 6 weeks of conception) and premature labor (delivery after 6 months but before due time). The deliberate miscarriage was criminal abortion. This broke down late 19c. as abortion came to be used principally for intentional miscarriages, probably via phrases such as procure an abortion.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday November 20, @01:09AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Sunday November 20, @01:09AM (#1280571)

      My impression is that "abortion" is the general-purpose term for any form of termination, while "miscarriage" is the "more civilized" version usually applied to spontaneous human abortions.

      Sort of like how other animals sweat, while humans perspire.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by deimios on Saturday November 19, @06:49AM (4 children)

    by deimios (201) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 19, @06:49AM (#1280466) Journal

    It was clear that Tictok was spreading mental diseases and now finally ... oh wait. Not that kind of Tick.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday November 19, @07:38AM (1 child)

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 19, @07:38AM (#1280470) Journal

      Well, if ticks make you ill, I'm glad that we now have electronic clocks that don't tick.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Saturday November 19, @10:15AM

        by pTamok (3042) on Saturday November 19, @10:15AM (#1280477)

        You're tocking nonsense, in the great tradition of Edward Lear.

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Saturday November 19, @01:44PM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Saturday November 19, @01:44PM (#1280488)

      And it is mostly comprised of bovine fecal matter, so it only makes sense to affect the manufacturers thereof the most.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:33AM (#1280626)

      Would it help if we build a wall?

  • (Score: 2) by oumuamua on Saturday November 19, @05:19PM (2 children)

    by oumuamua (8401) on Saturday November 19, @05:19PM (#1280512)

    it's an invasive species so has no place in the ecosystem. That is a green light to wipe it out.
    The only hesitation is if some ticks escape overseas and then wipe out overseas tick populations.
    This would give overseas beef farmers an advantage they did not pay for, something Americans will not stand for.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Sunday November 20, @01:15AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Sunday November 20, @01:15AM (#1280572)

      Don't even joke. Gene drives are pure nightmare fuel for a wide range of reasons. Starting with the fact that "species" is more of a theoretical concept - in the real world there are very few hard and fast boundaries, and the extremely rare viable crossbreeds turn out to be surprisingly common thanks to the vast numbers of opportunities offered by the real world.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, @07:36AM (#1280627)

      > That is a green light to wipe it out.

      You're fighting entropy. The local ecosystem was a little utopian bubble that just got burst. Time to get HARDCORE, ecosystem. Put in some long hours at high intensity to WIN! To be a WINNER! And get me the most magnificent Leader award!!!111 COME ON why are you waiting???111

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