The name of this parasite is New Guinea Flatworm and it’s an invasive species from the island of New Guinea. It’s believed that the worm was accidentally introduced to American soil a few years ago, causing the invasive outbreak we’re seeing now. Experts believe a contaminated batch of flowers sent up from the South Pacific may be to blame.
It can grow to be two or three inches long and is very flat across its entire body, being less than 2 mm in thickness. Both ends of the body are pointed, but the head-end is more pointed than the tail-end. It’s usually a dark brown to a black color, often with an orange stripe down its back, and a light grey underside.
The mouth of the parasite is at the center of its body. And, this type of parasite feeds on land snails, as well as worms and slugs. They’ve even been purposefully introduced to some area (outside of the U.S.) to help control snail populations.
This parasite carries a variety of infections that, when caught by a human, can turn into a deadly strain of meningitis, severely affecting the brain and spinal cord. Usually, the flatworm will infect mice, rats, and other small animals with the viruses, which can then easily be passed onto humans. And, unfortunately, if this flatworm manages to get inside your home, it may infect you directly, causing long worms to thrive in your lungs. And the worm doesn’t have to crawl into your mouth or anything else of sci-fi proportions; you only need to come in contact with one to get infected.
Long worms living in your lungs will give you a terrible cough and a general feeling of weakness.These parasites are literally eating you from the inside out, littering your body with other infectionsand diseases while they’re at it. If you come in contact with a long worm or if you’re randomly experiencing these symptoms, you need to be treated immediately. The experts also say that this flatworm knows no bounds as far as a preferred environment. Due to lack of vegetation, these parasites are less likely to infest in urban areas. However, experts say that just because they’re from a subtropical area originally doesn’t mean they won’t be tempted to spread into cooler regions of the United States.If you see a New Guinea Flatworm in the Florida are, stay clear of it. Take a picture and contact your local authorities immediately. If you’d like to kill the parasite for fear of your own safety, pouring boiling water on the worm will kill it.