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Florida county under quarantine due to giant African land snails

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Jul 04, 2022 - 09:24 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – Part of a county in the US state of Florida is under quarantine following the discovery of a giant African land snail which experts say can consume over 500 varieties of plants.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed the discovery of the snails in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County on June 23.

“FDACS will treat properties with a metaldehyde-based molluscicide (snail bait). The treatment is labeled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential use,” said the department on its website.

The department alerted residents that the snail is one of the most invasive pests and causes agricultural and environmental damage.

“The snails also pose a serious health risk to humans by carrying the parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis in humans. Giant African land snails are illegal to import or possess in the United States without a permit,” it said.

The snail has been eradicated twice in Florida.

It was first detected in 1969 and was eradicated in 1975.

“The most recent eradication of this pest was in 2021 from a detection in 2011 in Miami-Dade County. Prior to the recent detection, the last live snail in Florida was collected in Miami-Dade County in December of 2017,” it added.

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