Watch: Giant snails that can transmit meningitis emerge in western Venezuela | health
Western Venezuela is witnessing an invasion of giant African snails, which can transmit meningitis and crop plague, and their spread is likely due to recent heavy rains in the region, local authorities and the non-profit Fundacion Azul Ambientalista reported on Friday. according to a report by Agence France-Presse and a video on his YouTube channel.
The first “colonies” of this species of southern desert snail, Achatina fulica, were discovered in November on the shores of Lake Maracaibo in the city of the same name, capital of Zulia state.
Then other foci of spread appeared in other areas of this state in western Venezuela and in the neighboring state of Tachira.
Maracaibo Mayor Rafael Ramirez told AFP yesterday that “between 350 and 400 snails” were gathering in some places every day.
During an operation to combat this spread in the city, observed by the French press agency, more than 437 giant snails were found in two hours.
Warnings about snails have been posted on social media and the municipality of Maracaibo has taken action with the national and Zulian governments to limit their spread.
Achatina snail saliva
The Achatina snail has attracted the attention of the cosmetics industry due to the possibility of using its saliva in some of its products, and it has been in Venezuela since 1997. It had already invaded some of its regions in 2017, but to a lesser extent. according to Jose Sandoval of the Fundación Athol Impetalista.
“It gets complicated because this time the snails are big and mature and have laid eggs,” he told AFP. “We are facing an invasion (…) and therefore it is very difficult to eradicate it (…) but it is possible to control its presence,” he added.
Due to their ability to reproduce (up to 600 eggs every 15 days) and their average lifespan of up to 6 years, these snails are among the most invasive species, harmful to crops and even human health, as they cause diseases such as meningitis.
Sandoval explained that the spread of these snails is only caused by the weather, explaining that it was due to the heavy rains this year.
The authorities of the US state of Florida complained last July about the invasion of these snails, which can reach a size of 20 centimeters.
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