STERLING, Va. (WUSA9) -- A foreign pest that could have caused damage and disease was stopped at the Washington Dulles International Airport, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
DHS officials wrote in a press released that "A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Wednesday that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Washington Dulles International Airport discovered a new pest in the Washington area when they intercepted, Pallifera sp (Philomycidae), a type of slug, while inspecting an air cargo shipment of fresh mint from Mexico on February 26."
According to officials, the slug was found in an 83-pound shipment of mint. The shipment was supposed to go from Mexico to Elkridge, Md.
Officials explain that there was concern that the slug could be "a host for human pathogens such as Angiostrongylus cantonensis, a parasitic nematode that is a worldwide problem and the most common parasite causing human eosinophilic meningitis." They stated that the slugs also eat many leafy plants, causing damage and disease.
When they found the slug at the airport, CBP officials sent the slug to the USDA entomologist for identification. Then, they issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or destroyed. The importer chose to have the shipment destroyed by steam sterilization.
For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, visit: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/index.shtml.