Screw Worm

Screwworm outbreak in Florida deer marks first U.S. invasion of the parasite in 30 years, Washington Post, Oct 4, 2016In the age of mosquito-borne West Nile, malaria and Zika, it should not come as a surprise that invertebrates can be lethal. The New World screwworm is different, however, in that it does not harbor a virus or other deadly microbe within its exoskeleton. The fly itself is the killer.

“Unlike most barnyard flies, its larvae feed on living tissue,” the New York Times wrote in 1977. “They can kill a fully grown steer in 10 days. Last year, they infested and killed an elderly woman in San Antonio who could not get help nor care for herself.”

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