Giant snail that can cause meningitis sparks US alert

Secretary of Agriculture of the State of Florida, Nikki Fried, has announced the eradication of giant African land snails, which were detected a month ago in some areas of the United States.

During a press conference, Fried told citizens that although up to two years have passed without the appearance of any snail of this species, it cannot be officially confirmed that they have been eradicated.

“We are pleased to play a role in this collaborative success by sharing technical expertise, providing financial support, training detector K-9s that played a key role in finding the snails, and working with FDACS on survey and research efforts,” said Richard Miranda, State Plant Health Director with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“Public involvement was also essential to this eradication, and we ask the public to remain vigilant by still keeping an eye out for the pest.”

The problem with this species is that it reproduces very easily and can also cause meningitis in humans.

Concern came to light again recently when one was discovered in the western Florida city of New Port Richey.

As a result, the area was quarantined and a pesticide treatment was launched to eliminate these species, which can reach up to 20 centimetres in length.

However, this is the third time that the snail has been detected in the southeast of the USA and it has already been eradicated twice in Florida.

It was first detected in 1969 and eradicated six years later. But it was not long ago that it was eradicated for the last time, in 2021, after it was detected in 2011 in Miami-Dade.