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Status Report Released on the New World Screw Worm in Latin America

Participants at the regional meeting, 12-16 December 2016, Vienna, Austria (Photo: J. Krickl/IAEA).

A status report (in Spanish) on the New World screwworm (NWS) has just been released by participants of an IAEA project, presenting the current state of the NWS in Latin America, together with future activities and expected benefits of the project.

The New World screwworm Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) is a cause for Myiasis, a parasitic infestation of the body which affects humans and animals. The most devastating effect is on livestock production, through mortality and reduced milk and meat yield. Wildlife, especially endangered species, are also threatened. Due to climate change, the insect can also spread into new geographical areas formerly free from infestation, or re-infest areas where NWS had been eradicated.

For these reasons, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay requested assistance from the IAEA technical cooperation (TC) programme to help control this pest problem. The IAEA started a project[1] in 2014 with the support of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme, delivering expertise, equipment procurement and training, supporting capacity building in disease diagnosis, assessing geographical boundaries of the pest and supporting educational campaigns.

The status report is one of the key deliverables of the project. It provides an update of the regional status of the presence or absence of the pest, challenges and expected project benefits, such as the availability of base-line information for a future area-wide intervention using the sterile insect technique (SIT), feasibility studies and technology transfer from each Member State involved in the project.

The report was drafted with the contributions of IAEA project counterparts, invited experts and partners, the United States Department of Agriculture and the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health.

The next steps for IAEA support to Member States to combat this serious pest problem include a TC project for the 2018–2020 programme that would further strengthen the surveillance systems and emergency response capacity in Member States in Central and North America, which are pest-free, and continue supporting capacity building that could lead to pilot-scale interventions using SIT in Latin America and the Caribbean.     

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[1] RLA5067 “Supporting Capacity Building for Evaluation of Feasibility of a Progressive Control Programme for New World Screwworm”

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