New World Screw Worm Found in the Keys
New World screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warmblooded animals, including people. They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh. If not treated, infestations can be fatal. While New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) has not been widely present in the United States since the 1960s, it is still found in most of South America and in five Caribbean countries. If this pest became established in the United States again, it could cause more than $1 billion in losses for our country’s livestock industry.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms this is a local infestation of new world screwworm. This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. In response to this infestation, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has established an Animal Health Check Zone from mile marker 91 south. Animals traveling north will be given health checks at an interdiction station located at mile marker 106 to ensure that they do not have screwworm. This checkpoint will ensure that the screwworm does not travel north and infest other areas of Florida.
The complete USDA press release can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
A New World Screw Worm Fact Sheet can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
The recommended treatment for any canine or feline infestation can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
The Florida Department Of Agriculture, Notice of Quarantine can be viewed by clicking here.
Contact us immediately if you think your pet may have an infestation.
The disease appears to be geographically isolated at the moment and the various governmental agencies involved are working hard to keep it contained. However, we think it is wise for all pet owners to be familiar with the outbreak of this disease. The more people who are aware of it and alert to its possible presence, the faster it can be eradicated. Please call us at (305) 852-5252 if you have any questions.