An outbreak of the insidious screw worm fly in Yemen, is threatening livelihoods, in a country where rearing livestock is a traditional way of life. In recent weeks, a Ministerial delegation was at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, to turn to the international community for emergency assistance to fight the deadly pest.
The menacing fly lays its eggs in a cut or open wound of a warm-blooded animal. The maggots then feast off the living flesh, and can kill the animal if its not treated in time.
The outbreak hit the countrys coast late last year. Veterinarian, Mansoor AlQadasi, General Director of the Central Veterinarian Laboratory, says its the first official outbreak of old world screw worm in Yemen.
"There are about 20,00O cases of livestock affected. Most of these are sheep and goats. We have also found some human cases -- mainly in children and older people," Mr. AlQadasi said.
Mr. AlQadasi fears the fly, which travels up to 200 km, will spread inland.
"This can lead to a severe impact on the lives of people. We have a huge population who rely on animals. They do not own land, but they own animals. It can lead to severe social and economical problems for those families who totally rely on the marketing of animals and get income from this. This is a source of his life," Mr. AlQadasi said.
Emergency assistance to fight the pest is needed. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, are among those to respond.
Entomologist, Udo Feldman, from the Joint FAO/IAEA division in Vienna explains:
"Well initially it is quite obvious that more specialists, veterinarians, need special training on identification of the larvae; on advising farmers what to do; on treating the animals; on establishing reporting structures. Also entomological monitoring, the techniques need to be conveyed and that is what t
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International Atomic Energy Agency