No new screwworm infestations have been found in the Florida Keys since Jan. 10, state agriculture officials said Saturday, leading them to lift the animal quarantine for Monroe County and to close the Animal Health Check Point in Key Largo beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday.
That means dogs, cats and other animals entering and leaving the Florida Keys will no longer be subject to inspection for New World screwworm. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had been operating the checkpoint for five months.
The checkpoint and quarantine were imposed after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key in late September — the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years.
An Animal Health Check Zone was set up on U.S. 1 from mile marker 91 south. Animals traveling north were given health checks at a station located at mile marker 106 to check for screwworm. Since October, inspectors checked more than 16,000 animals with no detections of screwworm.
State officials advised residents to continue watching their animals closely and to report any potential cases of screwworm infestation by calling 800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352). Non-Florida residents should call 850-410-3800.