Giant African snail (GAS), giant African land snail, kalutara snail was first introduced to Hawaii in 1936; and later introduced to the continental USA in 1966.
Imported as pets and for educational purposes; may also arrive accidentally in cargo. Agricultural and garden pest; attacks and feeds on hundreds of different plant species.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Plant Industry (DPI), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced the eradication of the giant African land snail (GALS) from Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
This eradication announcement marks only the second time this pest has been eradicated in the world, both in South Florida.
For the past 11 years, the FDACS Division of Plant Industry has worked toward eradication through multiple rounds of visual surveys and inspections, K-9 detector dog surveys and inspections, manual collection and treatment programs.
In total, 168,538 snails were collected from 32 core population areas comprised of thousands of properties. The giant African land snail is a highly invasive agricultural pest, known to feed on over 500 varieties of plants.
They also pose a risk to humans and animals by carrying rat lung worm, a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans. Both the USDA and DPI will continue to remain vigilant in their commitments to safeguard American agriculture through surveys, early detection, and rapid response.
Meningitis is an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges. The inflammation from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.Most cases of meningitis in the USA are caused by a viral infection. But bacteria, parasites and fungi also can cause it. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can cause death and require emergency antibiotic treatment.
Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that you or someone in your family has meningitis. Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications. Early meningitis symptoms may be similar to the flu. Symptoms may develop over several hours or over a few days.USDA National Invasive Species Information Center / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.