In 2015, the New Guinea flatworm was seen in Miami. It is an invasive species that can be deadly. New reports out now confirm that this parasite is now in Cape Coral; several of the worms were found in a flowerpot. According to Roy Beckford, an agriculture agent, the flatworms are dark in color and have an orange stripe that runs down the center of their backs.
It is believed that the worms came to the Florida from a shipment that originated in the South Pacific. This parasite can infect mice and rats which may then pass on the infection to human beings.
The result of this infestation can cause diseases of the brain like meningitis. The worms can reproduce quickly and will take over a new area rather quickly. If the worms get into your lungs, symptoms include a terrible cough.
Beckford warns that just one exposure to the worms is dangerous. They will basically vomit a caustic substance that can cause problems on your skin. The ecosystem is in danger too. The worms can destroy trees and other vegetation along with snails and lizards.
Adult worms can survive in potted plants. If any of that soil is relocated, the worms will go with it, and they will spread. If you see this worm, please take pictures and share them with the authorities. It is very important that we stop these parasites from continuing to spread.
Please share this story, so the word gets out. Be on the lookout (BOLO) for the New Guinea Flatworm.