from (The Boston Globe, Online edition)

Traveler's Exposure to Screwworm Raises Concerns of Possible Infestation

Associated Press, 08/08/98 20:33

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A man who returned from Brazil with flesh-eating screwworm maggots on his scalp may have introduced the lethal insect to northern Alabama, health officials said.

The traveler, who was not identified, sought treatment when he noticed growing sores on his scalp after arriving home from his trip July 31.

Health officials said Friday they believe screwworm flies probably laid eggs in an open wound on his head while the man was in the Brazilian rain forest.

During the insect's three-week life cycle, the eggs pupate and become larvae, which then feed on the host animal's flesh until they turn into flies. Screwworm larvae can devour a 600-pound steer in 5-7 days, experts said.

Although the man has been treated, officials are concerned that some of the maggots might have escaped the man's house and gotten into the soil, where they could become flies and then mate.

``We are taking every appropriate measure to prevent the larvae from spreading,'' said Dr. Chris Bishop, a veterinarian with the state agriculture department.

© Copyright 1998 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc.

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