Broward County in Florida has been placed under quarantine due to an invasion of giant African land snails, a highly dangerous species, according to officials.
The quarantine measures were announced on Tuesday after the snails were spotted in the Miramar area earlier this month.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released a news statement providing details of the quarantine.
Under the quarantine regulations, it is illegal to transport giant African land snails or any associated materials such as plants, soil, compost, and yard waste into or out of the affected area without a compliance agreement from the agriculture department.
The quarantine zone has been divided into two treatment areas as indicated on a map released by the state agriculture department.
The department plans to use a metaldehyde-based molluscicide, an approved snail bait for residential use, to combat the infestation.
This is not the first time Florida has faced such an issue. Last year, the New Port Richey area in Pasco County was also placed under quarantine after the detection of these snails, the report says.
Giant African land snails are notorious for consuming over 500 different plant species, and they can also cause damage to stucco, plastic recycling bins, and even signs. Their sharp-edged calcium shells have the potential to puncture vehicle tires if driven over.
The Florida Department of Agriculture expressed concerns about the impact of these snails on the state’s agriculture and natural areas, as they can cause significant damage to tropical and subtropical environments.
“The snails pose a health risk to humans as they carry a parasite known as rat lungworm, which can lead to meningitis,” it said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that this condition results in inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.