Screwworm in the FL Keys

For questions or concerns call the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or 305-470-6863 Option 7. Non-Florida residents can call 1-850-410-3800


November 9, 2016

New Findings of Screwworm

  •  USDA, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, in Ames Iowa has confirmed ten cases of screwworm since infestation was first detected.
    • Positive sample #1 collected from a Key deer on Big Pine Key 9/29/16. Confirmed 9/30/16.
    • Positive sample #2 collected from dog on No Name Key 9/19/16. Confirmed 10/6/16.
    • Positive sample #3 collected from a pig euthanized on Big Pine Key 10/12/16.
    • Positive sample #4 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/19/16.
    • Positive sample #5 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
  • Positive sample #6 collected from a Key deer on No Name Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
  • Positive sample #7 collected from a Key deer on Munson Island, Confirmed on 10/27/16.
  • Positive sample #8 collected from a Key deer on Middle Torch Key, Confirmed on 11/04/16.
  • Positive sample #9 collected from a dog on Ramrod Key, Confirmed on 11/08/16.
  • Positive sample #10 collected from a deer on Sugarloaf Key, Confirmed on 11/08/16.

 

Report Suspected Cases/Questions

  • To report a suspected case of screwworm in a Key deer, please call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) ext. 7 or 1-305-470-6863 ext. 7.
  • Questions or concerns regarding the screwworm, please contact The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or, for non-Florida residents, 1-850-410-3800.

 

Eradication Program Report

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has been working with wildlife veterinarians to evaluate and select treatments to prevent healthy Key deer from becoming infested by screwworm, and to treat deer in the early stages of infestation.  Deer are being marked with non-toxic paint to identify those who have been treated and treatments will continue until screwworm infestations have subsided.  For more information, please call (305) 470-6863, option 7.
  • The release of sterile flies includes the following Keys: Big Pine Key, Big Torch Key, City of Marathon, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, No Name Key, Little Pine Key, Sugarloaf Key and Summerland Key- There have been 161 total sterile fly releases completed throughout the listed Keys since the program began, totaling 23 million flies.
  • FDACS established an animal health check point at mile marker 106. Travelers moving north with pets, small animals or livestock must stop to get a free check for signs of screwworm. Early detection is key, and this disease can be treated.

o   To date, 3,512 animals have been checked at the health check point- 3,235 dogs, 103 chickens, 126 cats, 13 horses, 19 birds (Parrots), 3 rabbits, 1 ape, 2 raccoons, 1 snake, 8 snails, and 1 rodent  have had health checks completed at the check point with no signs of screwworm.

  • In partnership with USDA, FDACS is working on enhanced surveillance in order to determine the spread of the New World Screwworm pest.

 

Trade Restrictions

o   No permit is required.

o   All animals leaving the Screwworm Quarantined Area in the Florida Keys and traveling to Georgia will be required to:

  • Obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI or Health Certificate)
  • Provide the following veterinary statement on the CVI: “The animals listed on this Certificate of Veterinary Inspection have been examined by me and found to be free of Screwworm”

o   For more information, please visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at: http://agr.georgia.gov/animal-health.aspx

  • Following is a list of countries with import restrictions on any country where Screwworm is present. These restrictions were in place prior to Screwworm infestation in the United States.
    • Cattle – Guatemala
    • Breeding Cattle – Lebanon and Nicaragua
    • Dairy Cattle – Jordan
    • Sheep/Goats – Cuba
    • Horses – New Zealand-Horses may not originate from or move through a control area for screwworm within 21 days prior to export.
    • Horses – Australia-The United States must have been officially free of screwworm for 12 months prior to export.
    • Horses – Hong Kong requires a “vector protected stable” or treatment with repellent/insecticide- This restriction does not preclude USDA from endorsing any export veterinary health certificate for temporary horses from the United States.
  • USDA is already reaching out to the countries on this list that the United States trades with to communicate that the infestation is small, and we have implemented an aggressive eradication program. With this outreach, USDA is seeking waivers to allow trade to continue.

 

Resources

  • Community Outreach to Address the New World Screwworm Infestation and Eradication Response Call for Volunteers-Lower Keys

Big Pine Key – Monroe County BOCC, the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County and the UF/IFAS/Monroe County Extension Service are partnering to host three door-to-door community outreach sessions on November 17th and 18th to address the New World screwworm infestation and eradication response in the Lower Keys. Volunteers from the community are being asked to help in this effort.

  • Where: Big Pine Key and Nearby Islands

Thursday, November 17th:    2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Friday, November 18th:          8:00 a.m. to noon

Friday, November 18th:          1:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Background

  • On October 3, 2016, USDA announced the presence of New World Screwworm in Big Pine Key, Florida.
    • Screwworm was detected in samples collected from three Key deer in a wildlife refuge. Signs of the disease were also reported in other deer from the same refuge and three domestic animals from the same island.
    • Screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people.
    • They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.
    • If detected early, animals can be treated and fully recover.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with USDA, USFWS, DOH, FWC, COPEG (Cooperative Program for Screwworm Eradication with the government of Panama) and others, launched an eradication program to prevent the spread of this disease.
  • Residents and visitors who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. See a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness, and report any potential cases of screwworm to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.
  • Residents can report a suspected case involving a Key deer by calling (305) 470-6863, option 7.

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October 28, 2016

New Findings of Screwworm

  •  USDA, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, in Ames Iowa has confirmed six cases of screwworm since infestation was first detected.
    • Positive sample #1 collected from a Key deer on Big Pine Key 9/29/16. Confirmed 9/30/16.
    • Positive sample #2 collected from dog on No Name Key 9/19/16. Confirmed 10/6/16.
    • Positive sample #3 collected from a pig euthanized on Big Pine Key 10/12/16.
    • Positive sample #4 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/19/16.
    • Positive sample #5 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
    • Positive sample #6 collected from a Key deer on No Name Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
  • While early detection is treatable in domestic pets, wildlife can pose unique challenges. For more information regarding the Key deer, please call (305) 470-6863, option 7.

 

Eradication Program Report

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has been working with wildlife veterinarians to evaluate and select treatments to prevent healthy Key deer from becoming infested by screwworm, and to treat deer in the early stages of infestation.  Deer are being marked with non-toxic paint to identify those who have been treated and treatments will continue until screwworm infestations have subsided.  For more information, please call (305) 470-6863, option 7.
  • Sterile Insect Release began Tuesday (10/11) on Big Pine Key The release of flies was then expanded to include the following additional keys: Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, No Name Key and Summerland Key.
  • FDACS established an animal health check point at mile marker 106. Travelers moving north with pets, small animals or livestock must stop to get a free check for signs of screwworm. Early detection is key, and this disease can be treated.
  • To date, 2,108 animals have been checked at the health check point- 1,916 dogs, 99 chickens, 74 cats, 4 horses, 13 birds (Parrots) and 2 rabbits have had health checks completed at the check point with no signs of screwworm.
  • In partnership with USDA, FDACS is working on enhanced surveillance in order to determine the spread of the New World Screwworm pest.

 

Trade Restrictions

  • Georgia:
    • No permit is required.
    • All animals leaving the Screwworm Quarantined Area in the Florida Keys and traveling to Georgia will be required to:
  • Obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI or Health Certificate)
  • Provide the following veterinary statement on the CVI: “The animals listed on this Certificate of Veterinary Inspection have been examined by me and found to be free of Screwworm”
  • Following is a list of countries with import restrictions on any country where Screwworm is present.  These restrictions were in place prior to Screwworm infestation in the United States.
    • Cattle – Guatemala
    • Breeding Cattle – Lebanon and Nicaragua
    • Dairy Cattle – Jordan
    • Sheep/Goats – Cuba
    • Horses – New Zealand and Australia
    • Horses – Hong Kong requires a “vector protected stable” or treatment with repellent/insecticide- This restriction does not preclude USDA from endorsing any export veterinary health certificate for temporary horses from the United States.
  • USDA is already reaching out to the countries on this list that the United States trades with to communicate that the infestation is small, and we have implemented an aggressive eradication program. With this outreach, USDA is seeking waivers to allow trade to continue.

 

Public Outreach and Resources

 

Background

  • On October 3, 2016, USDA announced the presence of New World Screwworm in Big Pine Key, Florida.
    • Screwworm was detected in samples collected from three Key deer in a wildlife refuge. Signs of the disease were also reported in other deer from the same refuge and three domestic animals from the same island.
    • Screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people.
    • They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.
    • If detected early, animals can be treated and fully recover.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with USDA, USFWS, DOH, FWC, COPEG (Cooperative Program for Screwworm Eradication with the government of Panama) and others, launched an eradication program to prevent the spread of this disease.
  • Residents and visitors who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. See a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness, and report any potential cases of screwworm to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.
  • Residents can report a suspected case involving a Key deer by calling (305) 470-6863, option 7.

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October 25, 2016

New Findings of Screwworm

  •  USDA, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, in Ames Iowa has confirmed six cases of screwworm since infestation was first detected.
    • Positive sample #1 collected from a Key deer on Big Pine Key 9/29/16. Confirmed 9/30/16.
    • Positive sample #2 collected from dog on No Name Key 9/19/16. Confirmed 10/6/16.
    • Positive sample #3 collected from a pig euthanized on Big Pine Key 10/12/16.
    • Positive sample #4 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/19/16.
    • Positive sample #5 collected from a cat on Big Pine Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
    • Positive sample #6 collected from a Key deer on No Name Key, Confirmed on 10/25/16.
  • While early detection is treatable in domestic pets, wildlife can pose unique challenges. For more information regarding the Key deer, please call (305) 470-6863, option 7.

Eradication Program Report

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has been working with wildlife veterinarians to evaluate and select treatments to prevent healthy Key deer from becoming infested by screwworm, and to treat deer in the early stages of infestation.  Deer are being marked with non-toxic paint to identify those who have been treated and treatments will continue until screwworm infestations have subsided.  For more information, please call (305) 470-6863, option 7.
  • Sterile Insect Release began Tuesday (10/11) on Big Pine Key The release of flies was then expanded to include the following additional keys: Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, No Name Key and Summerland Key.
  • FDACS established an animal health check point at mile marker 106. Travelers moving north with pets, small animals or livestock should stop to get a free check for signs of screwworm. Early detection is key, and this disease can be treated.
  • To date, 2,039 animals have been checked at the health check point- 1,848 dogs, 99 chickens, 73 cats, 4 horses, 13 birds (Parrots) and 2 rabbits have had health checks completed at the check point with no signs of screwworm.
  • In partnership with USDA, FDACS is working on enhanced surveillance in order to determine the spread of the New World Screwworm pest.

Trade Restrictions

  • Following is a list of countries with import restrictions on any country where Screwworm is present.  These restrictions were in place prior to Screwworm infestation in the United States.
    • Cattle – Guatemala
    • Breeding Cattle – Lebanon and Nicaragua
    • Dairy Cattle – Jordan
    • Sheep/Goats – Cuba
    • Horses – New Zealand and Australia
    • Horses – Hong Kong requires a “vector protected stable” or treatment with repellent/insecticide- This restriction does not preclude USDA from endorsing any export veterinary health certificate for temporary horses from the United States.
  • USDA is already reaching out to the countries on this list that the United States trades with to communicate that the infestation is small, and we have implemented an aggressive eradication program. With this outreach, USDA is seeking waivers to allow trade to continue.

Public Outreach and Resources

Background

  • On October 3, 2016, USDA announced the presence of New World Screwworm in Big Pine Key, Florida.
    • Screwworm was detected in samples collected from three Key deer in a wildlife refuge. Signs of the disease were also reported in other deer from the same refuge and three domestic animals from the same island.
    • Screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people.
    • They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.
    • If detected early, animals can be treated and fully recover.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with USDA, USFWS, DOH, FWC, COPEG (Cooperative Program for Screwworm Eradication with the government of Panama) and others, launched an eradication program to prevent the spread of this disease.
  • Residents and visitors who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. See a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness, and report any potential cases of screwworm to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.

Residents can report a suspected case involving a Key deer by calling (305) 470-6863, option 7.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Following the first announcement on Oct. 3, 2016, of the confirmation of New World screwworms in Big Pine Key, Florida, the United States Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today announced that the screwworm has also been detected on the keys listed below, which are all west of Big Pine and No Name keys and in close proximity. Additional detections are not unexpected, as enhanced surveillance efforts are underway.

  • Big Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Middle Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Little Torch Key: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Cudjoe: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Ramrod: adult screwworm flies detected.
  • Summerland: adult screwworm flies detected and screwworm-infested Key deer observed.

New World screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including, in rare cases, people. They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.

This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. On Oct. 3, 2016, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam declared an agricultural state of emergency [ Adobe PDF Document 893.36 KB ] in Monroe County, Florida.

Eradication efforts include:

  • An Animal Health Check Point at Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo. This animal health checkpoint is a crucial part of ensuring animal health and protecting Florida from the spread of this pest. All animals are briefly checked to ensure they do not have screwworm. Early detection of screwworms can be successfully treated in pets and livestock. Eight-hundred-eighty-three animals have been checked to date, and none has been positive for screwworm;
  • The release of sterile flies, a scientifically proven method to achieve screwworm eradication, began on Tuesday, Oct. 11;
  • The USDA continues to increase production and evaluate additional sites for release;
  • Enhanced surveillance to determine the scope of the screwworm infestation; and
  • Extensive public outreach in order to engage the public in early detection of the screwworm.

Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully and seek veterinary care for open wounds, then report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.

To report a suspected case of screwworm in the Key deer, call (305) 470-6863, option 7.

For more information on the New World screwworm, visit FreshFromFlorida.com/screwworm.

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October 07, 2016

 New World Screwworm Information for Boaters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of New World screwworms in Monroe County on October 3, 2016.  Florida’s endangered Key deer population on Big Pine and No Name keys have already suffered losses due to this infestation. A few pets in the local area exhibited potentially similar infestations over the past two months, though no larvae were collected and tested in those cases.  Rapid and thorough response efforts are imperative to save this endangered species and prevent the spread to people and other animals. Liveaboard boaters and boaters visiting the Keys with their pets are encouraged to observe their animals for any open wounds and signs of discomfort.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is working aggressively to prevent the spread of screwworm and eradicate this invasive pest. Efforts include surveillance, inspection, trapping, control methods, treatment and public outreach.

What you can do:

  • Know the signs
  • Check your animals
  • Report suspect cases

What to look for and how to report:

  • Screwworms are maggots that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people. They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh. If detected early, animals and people can be treated and fully recover.
  • Using fly repellents and keeping skin wounds clean and protected from flies can help prevent infection with screwworm in both people and animals.
  • Observe your pet for signs of screwworm. Screwworm infestations are difficult to detect at first. Check your pets for draining or enlarging wounds, and signs of discomfort.
  • Also look for screwworm larvae or eggs. Screwworm eggs are creamy and white and are deposited on or near the edges of superficial wounds.
  • If you suspect your pet is infected with screwworm, contact your veterinarian. To report a suspected case of screwworm in animals call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352). Non-Florida residents can call 1-850-410-3800.
  • While not common in humans, if you notice a suspicious lesion on your body or suspect you may have contracted screwworms, seek immediate medical attention.
  • For information on the New World screwworm, including how to take precautions for yourself and your pets, please visit FreshFromFlorida.com/Screwworm.

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KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY             Oct. 10, 2016 4:15 p.m.
News and information from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council

Screwworm Treatment Efforts to Begin Tuesday

Federal, state and Monroe County officials said aggressive efforts to eradicate the New World screwworm from Big Pine and No Name keys will begin Tuesday with the release of male-radiated flies imported from Panama.

There is no evidence of the screwworm moving beyond those two keys, officials said, speaking at a news conference in Key Largo.

“These are not (genetically) modified or engineered flies, except that they’re sterilized,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

The sterilized flies are to be released twice weekly on Big Pine and No Name keys for up to 25 weeks, Putnam said.

All visitors and residents traveling to and from the Florida Keys with animals are required to have them inspected during a brief examination at an Animal Health Check Zone at mile marker 106, off the shoulder of the northbound lanes of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway in Key Largo. About 200 animals have been checked so far, with no evidence of the screwworm disease.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced a Notice of General Animal Quarantine – stretching from the southern border of Key Largo Island at Mile Marker 91 south to Key West in Monroe County– on Oct. 3. All non-livestock domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats, exotic birds, chickens and other pets, must be inspected at the health check.

The checkpoint, open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., is to ensure that domestic animals are not infected with screwworms, or fly larvae infesting many endangered Key deer, a subspecies of the white-tailed deer, and several domestic animals. The flies can enter an animal through an open wound.

Eradication includes fly trapping to determine extent of the infestation, release of sterile flies to eliminate the screwworm fly population and disease surveillance.
“Visitors should know that the screwworm appears to be contained to the Big Pine Key region,” Putnam said. “If you suspect your pet has screwworm, you shouldn’t be fearful. It can be treated. Take it to a vet.”

Pet owners should frequently inspect their animals, said Florida State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Short. If an animal is infected, “it will be obvious,” Short said. Treatment in early stages involves checking for larvae, cleaning a wound, applying ointment, and vigilant inspection, the state official said.

About 60 Key deer, out of the endangered herd of an estimated 1,000, have been euthanized or died since early July because of screwworm, said Dan Clark, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge manager who oversees the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. “With pets, it’s all about wound management. There’s no need to panic.”

For additional information, contact: 800-HELP-FLA (800-435-7352). For concern about Key deer, call 888-404-3922 or 305-470-6863.

Online:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: http://tinyurl.com/z9dhglt


KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY    Oct. 4, 2016 • 2:30 p.m.
Information From the Monroe County Tourist Development Council

Screwworm Questions & Answers

With the emergence of New World screwworm in the Lower Keys, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council has developed this Q&A to provide a resource to answer visitor questions about the disease. The talking points have been developed with the aid of state agriculture and veterinary resources.

Why are the Florida Keys under a state of agricultural emergency?
Federal and state agricultural officials are concerned with New World screwworm cases that caused the death of a number of Key deer on Big Pine and No Name keys. Two dogs and a pot-bellied pig on Big Pine Key also succumbed to the disease.

What about the Animal Health Check Zone in the Keys?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has declared an “Animal Health Check Zone” for the region from mile marker 91 on Key Largo to mile marker 0 in Key West. Although there are no reports of screwworm infections outside of Big Pine and No Name keys (near mile marker 30), officials want to ensure the disease does not spread, especially to livestock on the Florida mainland. Animal owners and their pets can leave the zone, but animals need to be examined at an Animal Health Check Station established near mile marker 106, off the shoulder of northbound lanes of the Overseas Highway. Officials said the examination primarily involves a noninvasive visual observation of the animal with questions for the owner, requiring a brief time period.

Can I bring my pet to the Florida Keys?
There is no prohibition against travelers bringing pets to the Keys, but veterinarians caution you to ensure your pet is healthy and has no open wounds. It is best to keep your pet indoors. All animals leaving the Keys need to be examined at the check station near mile marker 106.

What is the screwworm?
Screwworms are fly larvae or maggots that can infest livestock and other animals. They mostly infect an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh. The New World screwworm has not been widely present in Florida since 1959. It can still be found in South America and in several Caribbean countries.

How will I know if an animal is infected by a screwworm?
The screwworm can only enter animals through open wounds, veterinary experts said. Animal owners who notice flies or maggots in open wounds of their pets should immediately take them to a veterinarian for examination.

Can screwworms infect humans?
Human cases of New World screwworms are extremely rare, although they have occurred. People infested with screwworms usually have discomfort or itching at the site of a wound. If the screwworm affects a human’s eyes, mouth, sinuses or lungs a resulting illness, while extremely rare, may become incapacitating. There are no current reported cases of human infections from screwworms in the Keys or United States.

What will be done to eradicate the screwworm in the Keys?
Planned responses by state and federal agriculture workers are to include fly trapping to determine the extent of the infestation, release of sterile flies to eliminate the screwworm population and surveillance to monitor cases in animals.

Who do I contact for more information?
Call 800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) for more information.

Online:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: http://tinyurl.com/z9dhglt