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Experiments were done to determine if transporting live screwworms Cochliomyia hominivorax Coquerel (Diptera: Calliphoridae) for developing new strains from countries where foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever are endemic, to the mass rearing facilities in Mexico and Panama, may introduce these exotic diseases into these countries. Are screwworms capable of harboring and spreading foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) and classical swine fever virus (CSFV) when they are grown in virus-inoculated larval rearing medium? In one experiment, screwworm larvae were reared in a FMDV-inoculated artificial medium containing either 0.1 % formaldehyde or antibiotics as an antimicrobial agent. In another experiment, larvae were similarly reared in a CSFV-inoculated artificial medium containing 0.1% formaldehyde. In each experiment, samples of larvae and the rearing media were collected daily until pupation occurred. The presence of FMDV was assayed by observing cytopathic effects on cell cultures and a conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); CSFV was assayed using an avidin-biotin complex assay and a conventional RT-PCR. For media containing antibiotics, FMDV was detected in a larval sample collected on day 1 and in media samples on days 1, 2 and 3. No FMDV was detected from larval and media samples collected on all other days. For media containing formaldehyde, FMDV and CSFV were not detectable in larval or media samples collected on all sampling days. These results indicate that FMDV and CSFV cannot survive in rearing medium containing formaldehyde as an antimicrobial agent. Therefore, insects collected in endemic regions and reared using formaldehyde-containing medium for at least one generation at the collection site should be free of FMDV and CSFV and can be transported safely to a strain development/mass rearing facility.
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