Chrysomya bezziana, the Old World screw-worm, is a primary myiasis-producing fly that attacks a wide range of warm-blooded animals throughout Africa, the Indian sub-continent, and Southeast Asia from Taiwan in the north to Papua New Guinea in the south.

Chrysomya bezziana/USDA
Chrysomya bezziana/USDA

On Friday, Dr Him Hoo Yap, Chief Veterinary Officer, Director General, Deputy CEO, Regulatory Programmes and Operations, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority, Singapore, submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) information of a Old World screwworm infestation that occurred at the Singapore Zoo.

According to the report, the outbreak that began last August, eight Sambar deer at the zoo were infested. Maggot larvae had been observed to be infesting the wounds. There are 16,000 susceptible animals at the Singapore zoo.

Two animals were killed and disposed of.

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No cases have been detected in livestock farms. The detection of Old World screwworm based on morphological examination has also been supported by third party laboratory examination on 20th December 2017.

The following measures were applied: Quarantine, official disposal of carcasses, by-products and waste, disinfection, ante and post-mortem inspections, vaccination permitted (if a vaccine exists) and treatment of affected animals (Wound is cleaned and larvicide applied. Wounds are monitored.)

LISTEN: Screwworms: An interview with UF professor, Dr. Phillip Kaufman

Surveillance within containment and/or protection zone, disinfestation and control of vectors will be applied.

This outbreak is considered resolved as of last week.

Related: A Look at Human Botfly Infestation

The larvae of Chrysomya bezziana are obligatory wound parasites and never develop in carcasses or other decomposing matter. The female flies are attracted to the open wounds of man and domesticated animals. Any slight, bleeding wound, even the smallest sore caused by a feeding tick, inflicted accidentally on domestic animals is subject to infestation


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