In 1996 the Old World Screwworm, Chrysomya bezziana, was first recorded in Iraq. Within the space of a year, up to 20,000 infestations of domestic animals were being recorded per month. This species, like its New World counterpart has impressive mobility and high fertility, threatening all the surrounding countries, including Syria, Iran, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Recorded case numbers from a series of Government clinics (left, Bagdhad is in the middle of the map) were successfully described using AVHRR vegetation and thermal data (right).
Source: Produced by the TALA Research Group, Zoology Department, Oxford University for FAO, Rome.
The successful description of the veterinary clinic data for Old World Screwworm data in Iraq allows us to produce a complete and detailed risk map for the entire country and region, using the AVHRR imagery. Regional maps allowed us to define cross-border risks for the Veterinary Services in all neighbouring countries. This is the first satellite derived risk map for any species of screwworm fly.