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History and Current Situation of the New World Screwworm in the Americas

The myiasis caused by the New World Screwworm (NWS) fly is a disease endemic in the following five countries in the Caribbean Region: Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago region as well as in the following countries of South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. This represents almost all the South American countries except for Chile where the NWS is not present. Panama, as the rest of the Central American countries, is free of the disease with only occasionally incursions in the Darien biological containment barrier border area with Colombia.

In 2014, conversations began between the USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) and Regional International Organization for Plant Protection and Animal Health (OIRSA) in order to establish a common strategy to improve surveillance of this disease, especially by identifying NWS risk areas, developing harmonized forms for the surveillance and attention of suspected transboundary diseases, development of a digital system for data collection in the field, updating of emergency manuals and sampling, training and officialization of a group of specialists in emergency response and the establishment of sentinel farms inside and outside the risk areas.

In 2017, the New World Screwworm (NWS) myiasis was registered in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), among the 116 diseases that this institution recommends to its member countries as mandatory reporting. The disease, the countries of the American Continent and international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) considered the myiasis of NWS as one of the six priority transboundary diseases to be eliminated from the American Continent, including it in the Global Program for the Progressive Elimination of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) of the OIE and FAO.

For more information on this topic, please consult The Situation of the NWS in project participating countries of a regional IAEA project (in Spanish).

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