Florida county under quarantine after return of invasive African land snail

Snails carry parasite rat lungworm, known to cause meningitis in humans

(Nicole Casuso, FDACS-DPI)

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida county is under quarantine after the return of the invasive African land snail.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has ordered Pasco County to quarantine after the snails were found in the New Port Richey area.

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

According to a CNN report, the snails can produce up to 2,500 eggs per year, making the population difficult to control.

It’s been eradicated twice in Florida within the past 50 years.

State officials believe this latest outbreak of the African land snail likely originated from the illegal pet trade.

The snails feed on more than 500 different plant species and also consume paint and stucco off houses as a source of calcium.

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.