Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

The most credible news source in Barbados

Photo via CMC.

New World screwworm outbreak causes alarm

April 8, 2024

BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC – The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) says it is monitoring closely, the zoosanitary situation of the region after the new world screwworm had been detected in Nicaragua.

“Nicaragua has now declared a National Animal Health Alert due to reported cases of new world screwworm, now raising the number to three affected countries in Central America, including Costa Rica and Panama,” the BAHA said, reminding stakeholders of the continued heightened surveillance and veterinary inspection for animals, including pets and livestock from listed countries.

New world screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) is a parasite that can affect all mammals, including humans. The larval stages of the fly feed on the skin and underlying tissue of the host.

“This causes a condition known as wound or traumatic myasis, which can be fatal,” the BAHA said, reminding the public that the risk level remains high due to the importation of animals, mainly pets, from affected countries.

“To ensure Belize remains free from new world screwworm, the Authority is continuing its heightened surveillance and has expanded the list of countries requiring mandatory veterinary inspection at ports of entry,” it said, remdining the public also to report cases of suspect larval infestations in their animals to the BAHA Animal Health Department offices.

“Partners, stakeholders, and the public are reminded that potentially devastating animal diseases are present in the Central American and Caribbean region and that the illegal importation of animals and animal products remain a threat. The health, safety, food security, and livelihood of all Belizeans would be endangered in the event of an outbreak of animal disease.

“We all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the illegal importation of animals and animal products does not occur,” the BAHA added.

About The Author

Share this!