The New World screwworm fly in Libya: a review of its introduction and eradication.



Lindquist DA, Abusowa M, Hall MJ.

Screwworm Emergency Centre for North Africa (SECNA) Field Programme, Tripoli, Libya.

Med Vet Entomol. 1992 Jan;6(1):2-8.


The New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) (Diptera: Calliphoridae), became established in the Old World for the first time during 1988, in the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. An obligate parasite of mammals in its larval stages, causing wound myiasis, it is one of the most serious insect pests of livestock in the Americas. To avert a major disaster for the livestock industry and wildlife of Africa and southern Europe, the Libyan Government and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched a massive screwworm eradication programme, based on the sterile insect technique, SIT. An initial containment operation involved veterinary teams working in the infested area (25,000 km2 around Tripoli), regularly inspecting livestock and, if necessary, treating them with insecticide. Quarantine stations were also set up, to prevent the movement of infested livestock out of the area. Sterile flies from the Mexican-American Commission for Eradication of Screwworms were first released in December 1990 at the rate of 3.5 million per week. This built up to 40 million per week by May 1991. The release of sterile flies was terminated on 17 October 1991, 6 months after the last detected case of screwworm myiasis in Libya. Intensive surveillance and quarantine activities will, however, continue through 1992. During 1992 the Libyan Government should be able to officially declare the New World screwworm eradicated from Libya, making it one of the most important success stories of pest control.

Keywords: The New World screwworm fly in Libya: a review of its introduction and eradication.