Myiasis is the infestation of the living tissues of a vertebrate animal by fly larvae. Most commonly it is flies within the family Calliphoridae that are the principal agents of myiasis. However after an initial infestation other species of fly can lay their eggs on the wound and become secondary agents. Myiasis is also commonly known as Blowfly strike or just Strike.
The larvae/maggots bury into the flesh of the animal. Myiasis can occur in many animals (including humans) but is most commonly observed in sheep and pet rabbits.
In the case of sheep, myiasis causes a considerable loss of condition in the animal and can, if untreated, prove fatal. In the UK, over 1 million sheep are struck annually.
A photograph of blowfly maggots feeding on flesh.
Photograph by United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Other names for (or types of) Myiasis include:
- Blowfly strike
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