The fearsome screwworm is back. Federal officials have identified a small outbreak of the insect, also known as the New World screwworm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax), in a population of deer and possibly some pets in Big Pine Key, Florida. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed that the pest has infected at least three and likely many more key deer,

an endangered species that only lives on Big Pine Key and nearby islands. Local companion animals also show signs of infection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services noted in a press release on October 3. In response, the state’s commission of agriculture, Adam Putnam, declared an “agricultural emergency” in Monroe County, and ordered that no animals be removed from the area.  READ MORE