Old World Screw-worms in Elephants

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names
  • Chrysomia bezziana infection

See also:

Disease Agents
  • Chrysomia bezziana (B24, B384.7.w7)
    • Eggs are deposited at the edges of wounds, in groups of 150-500 eggs. (B24)
    • Eggs hatch in 10-12 hours. (B24)
    • The second stage larvae invade living tissue and the third stage larvae are buried in tissue with only the posterior end of the maggot protruding. (B455.w7)
    • Mature larvae, about 15 mm long, leave the host three to six days after hatching, to pupate on the ground. (B24)
    • The pupal stage lasts seven days or longer, depending on environmental temperatures. (B24)
Infectious Agent(s)
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
  • Chrysomia bezziana (Old World screw-worm) larvae are found in elephants. (B384.7.w7, B455.w7)

Clinical signs:

  • Presence of maggots in a wound, with only the characteristic posterior end of the maggot protruding. (B455.w7)
  • Infected wounds smell foul and ooze a thin, foul-smelling liquid. (B24)
Further Information Distribution:
  • Tropical Africa, southern Asia. (B24, B384.7.w7)


  • Thoroughly clean the wound. (B24, B455.w7)
  • Debride the wound. (B455.w7)
  • Remove maggots physically or instill a minimum amount of insecticide. (B455.w7) 
    • Chloroform, ether or hydrogen peroxide may be used to retrieve larvae from crevices. (B455.w7)
  • Ivermectin is effective. (B455.w7)
  • Destroy the maggots to prevent them from pupating. (B24)
  • Keep checking the wound for any missed maggots and to prevent re-infection. (B455.w7)


Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken).

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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