South Florida officials are warning residents of a new creature in the area that could pose a dangerous threat. The creature is a worm and it’s dangerous because it carries a deadly parasite.
Called the “New Guinea flatworm” because of its supposed origin, the worms look similar to slugs. They are about two inches long with a black with a thin orange stripe down the center of their back. Their underbellies are gray.
The invasive worms might look relatively harmless, but they become dangerous when they bite rats and mice, who could then pass the parasite to humans, which could result in a deadly disease. Those affected by the disease could suffer brain and spinal cord damage, possibly even meningitis.
If a person becomes affected by the disease, he or she will be plagued with a horrible cough. “It’s a parasite in your lungs that needs to be treated,” Roy Beckford, an agriculture agent in Lee County, Florida, told WFTX.
Beckford warns anyone who sees one of these worms not to touch it.