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Agricultural News

APHIS Announces the Successful Eradication of New World Screwworm from Florida

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:38:27 CDT

APHIS Announces the Successful Eradication of New World Screwworm from Florida Kathy Simmons, DVM, chief veterinarian of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association updated affiliate state cattlemen's associations this afternoon on an announcement from The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which today highlighted the successful eradication of the New World screwworm from Florida. On October 3, 2016, New World screwworm was confirmed in Key deer from the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida. New World screwworm had been eradicated from the United States more than three decades previously. An aggressive eradication effort against screwworms was undertaken by USDA-APHIS in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other local partners.

“OCA appreciates the great work of USDA-APHIS to quickly and effectively address this potentially devastating event," wrote Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association in a statement following today's announcement. "As Congress moves through the budget and Farm Bill process, OCA will emphasize the importance that USDA-APHIS continue to receive funding specific to these type of emergency events.”

Animal health checkpoints, or interdiction stations, were closed on Saturday. The last sterile fly releases in Homestead, FL took place on Tuesday and fly releases are scheduled to end on April 25 in the Florida Keys. USDA-APHIS considers an area to be screwworm-free through surveillance which includes trapping flies and visually inspecting animals for signs and symptoms of screwworm infestation. No new cases of New World screwworm have been reported in Florida since January 10. Science shows that, when sterile flies are released, elimination of screwworm is achieved three life cycles after the last detection. The flies have on average, a 21-day life cycle, and they continue to circulate in the area for three weeks beyond each release. In the Keys, USDA-APHIS will complete five life cycles beyond the last positive screwworm detection.

USDA-APHIS and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue passive surveillance to ensure any new findings are quickly identified. This surveillance includes veterinarians reporting any suspicious cases, wildlife surveillance, concerned citizens that see suspicious wounds on animals or even on a person, and continued communication with the parks and the National Key Deer Refuge.

More information on the screwworm response can be found here.

Source - Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association



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