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Meningitis-causing giant African land snail detected in Florida

Agriculture officials have quarantined the area of Pasco County in hopes of eradicating harmful snail
giant African land snails on display in 2011 in Miami
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 15:00:59-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An invasive giant snail that causes a health risk to humans has been detected in Florida.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed the detection of the giant African land snail in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County last week.

According to the FDACS, these snails "pose a serious health risk to humans by carrying the parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis in humans."

giant African land snail life cycle

They're also known to cause extensive damage to Florida's agriculture and have twice been eradicated. The last live snail in Florida was found in Miami-Dade County in December 2017.

As a result of the most recent detection, the FDACS has established a quarantine zone in Pasco County as state agricultural leaders work to eradicate the snails again.

Agriculture officials said the giant African land snail can grow up to 8 inches long and reproduce rapidly, with one snail capable of laying more than 2,500 eggs per year.

The FDACS began its pesticide treatment to eradicate the snail on Wednesday.

This story was originally reported by Peter Burke on wptv.com.