Recently, a potentially deadly and destructive parasite has been spotted in Southwest Florida. The New Guinea flatworm is an invasive species that can destroy you from the inside out. Since it has already taken home in Southwest Florida near Fort Myers andKey West, officials are frantically trying to quarantine the parasite before it migrates to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

The deadly parasite was first found in Miami back in 2015. Since then the destructive, slimy worm has migrated to Cape Coral where a resident found the critter thriving in her flowerpot.

Learn more about these parasites and what YOU NEED TO DO if you spot one near your home…

“They’re a dark worm with a dorsal orange stripe down the center of their back,” agriculture agent Roy Beckford said, according to WFTX.

Apparently, the worm arrived in Florida when a contaminated batch of plants was shipped into the state from the South Pacific. They’ve been thriving in the humid, Florida climate and are turning their parasitic tendencies on humans and animals.

“I first saw one in my driveway … about a year ago in June, and I happened to do a little research and got in touch with a researcher in Paris at the Museum of Natural History and he said ‘Wow, haven’t seen any that far north,’” environmental scientist Christopher McVoy told WPEC.

The New Guinea flatworm often infects rats and mice. These rodents pass the contagious infection on to humans. If a human catches the infection that stemmed from the flatworm, they can experience serious disease of the brain and the spinal cord – and this can kill…

Humans who catch the infections from the flatworms are at risk of developing meningitis.

“If you have long worms, basically you start this horrible coughing,” Beckford said. “It’s a parasite in your lungs that needs to be treated.”

These worms live inside your body and consume you from the inside out while infecting you with terrible diseases.

If you see one of these worms, stay away. Even coming into contact with it can cause harm.

“It can actually cause problems on your skin because it actually vomits up this caustic substance that can cause problems,” Beckford said.

The flatworm threatens human health. And it also threatens the Florida ecosystem. The flatworm can easily destroy small creatures like lizards and snails, as well as shrubs and other vital vegetation.

“Bear in mind we’re not just talking about trees,” Beckford told WFTX. “We’re talking about shrubs and other plants that grow in our environments here.”

If you see one of these worms, take picture and contact your local authorities. Do not delay, your life and the fate of Florida’s ecosystem might hang in the balance.

The worm is large. It is about 1.5-3 inches long and about a quarter inch wide. Its body is quite flat, hence the name flatworm. The worm’s mouth is in the center of its stomach.

Do you think these flatworms will continue to spread across Florida?

Here’s what some readers on had to say:

“Stop importing the plants to the USA from the South Pacific. The worms are coming from plants that are sent here for people/businesses to buy.”

Please SHARE THIS WARNING to everyone you know who lives in FLORIDA!



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