Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Monitoring of New World Screwworm

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The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) advises its partners, stakeholders, and the public that it is closely monitoring the outbreak of New World screwworms in Central America. Panama has declared a State of Zoosanitary Emergency and reported cases in cattle, pigs, dogs, and horses. Costa Rica has reported a single case in a dog.
The New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) is a parasite that can affect all mammals, including humans. Female flies of the Calliphoridae family and Chrysomyinae subfamily are attracted to wounds and exposed mucous membranes where they lay eggs. After a period of 12 – 24 hours, the larvae emerge and feed on the skin and underlying tissue of the host. This causes a condition known as a wound or traumatic myiasis, which can be fatal.
Belize became free from the New World screwworm in 1992 and has maintained this status since then. The possibility of re-introduction of the parasite into Belize is a potential threat to the livestock, small stock and avian industries, wildlife, and humans. To ensure that the country remains free from the New World screwworm, BAHA has recategorized the risk of importation of animals from the affected countries as high and has heightened importation conditions to include mandatory veterinary inspection at ports of entry.
The public is reminded that the illegal importation of animals and animal products remains a threat to the health, safety, food security, and livelihood of all Belizeans. For further information, email the Animal Health Department at [email protected] or call 824-4872.

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