TAMIU Researcher Seeks Help from Local Hunters
Posted: 12/03/09

TAMIU Researcher Seeks
Help from Local Hunters

Dr. David BeckA Texas A&M International University professor is looking for a few good blood samples from South Texas wildlife and he’s hoping local hunters can help him out.

Dr. David L. Beck, TAMIU assistant professor biology, is working on research that focuses on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Webb County.

“I’ve been studying the life cycle of a tick known as Amblyomma cajennense for the last five years. This tick primarily feeds on mammals (deers, javelina, hogs and humans). It’s known to aggressively feed on humans. As I microbiologist I would really like to know how common tick-borne diseases are in regional wildlife. This research will help me to determine the disease risk posed by these ticks,” Dr. Beck explained.

Beck noted that tick-borne disease are rarely reported here, but may be cause for concern.

“Tick-borne diseases have rarely been reported in South Texas. However a recent survey we did this year of 1000 residents of Laredo demonstrated that 26% had been bitten by a tick, but the vast majority had not informed their doctor. Should we be worried? That is a question I would really like to know the answer to,” he said.

Beck hopes to examine about 200 samples and screen them for bacterial tick-borne diseases. He said the data collection is important to determine the likelihood of acquiring tick-borne diseases in south Texas.

Hunters who are interested in helping advance Beck’s research can contact him at dbeck@tamiu.edu or call 956.326.2587. He will provide a special sample collection kit at no cost to hunters and will receive the samples collected.

Beck has been part of the TAMIU College of Arts and Sciences faculty since 2003.

He holds his Ph. D. in Microbiology from the University of Virginia and an A.M. in Microbiology and a B.S. in Microbiology from Washington University and the University of Rochester respectively.

For more information, contact the University’s Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu, click on tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu