Monitoring for screw-worm fly

Animal Health Australia manages the Screw-Worm Fly Surveillance and Preparedness Program (SWFSPP).

Screw-worm fly (SWF) is an insect pest of warm blooded animals including people, livestock and wildlife. There are two commonly known screw-worm flies:

  • Old world screw-worm fly (OWS) – Chrysomya bezziana
  • New world screw-worm fly (NWS) – Cochliomyia hominivorax.

SWF is not present in Australia, but does occur in neighbouring countries to the north.

Establishment of screw-worm fly in Australia would have major negative impacts including on northern livestock production, livestock export trade and public health.

Suspicion of screw-worm fly infestation in animals is notifiable under state and territory animal health legislation.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) manages the SWFSPP in consultation with a committee of industry and government stakeholders. The program aims to detect an incursion early enough to ensure a high likelihood of success of an eradication program.

The SWFSPP comprises four areas of work:

  1. surveillance by fly trapping and targeted livestock wound surveys for myiasis in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia (see Figure to the left)
  2. entomology training and development of reference resources
  3. awareness promotion to increase general surveillance for myiasis
  4. monitoring of the risk profile for screw-worm fly in Australia.

There is an AUSVETPLAN Response Strategy which outlines the nationally agreed approach to respond to an incident or suspected incident of SWF in Australia.

Get involved

Keeping Australia free from SWF relies on early detection. You can help by looking for wounds that may be infested with SWF and reporting anything suspicious to your local veterinarian, state or territory agriculture department or by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 888).
Take a photo of the wound and maggots, and if possible, collect and send maggots for laboratory identification. Maggot collection kits can be sourced from your state or territory agriculture department or Animal Health Australia.

For more information on the preparation of samples and how to get kits, refer to the SWF brochure or go to:

Other states and territories: visit your agriculture department’s website for contact details.