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Experts explained the danger of Spanish slugs flooding Moscow

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Scientists have named a feature that makes Spanish slugs dangerous to humans. These large mollusks have recently been observed in large numbers in Moscow and the Moscow region. Slugs themselves are not poisonous, but are omnivores.

“They crawl on different kinds of carrion, therefore, due to the stickiness of their body, they can be mechanical carriers of various bacteria, viruses, eggs and various parasites,” Vadim Maryinsky, a researcher at the Department of General Ecology and Hydrobiology of the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University, told Izvestia.

In particular, they can carry infections that cause meningitis. For example, in the United States, residents of Florida recently experienced an outbreak of meningitis caused by helminths – parasitic worms, the intermediate host of which are slugs and snails, said Elizaveta Temnik, an infectious disease specialist at the Doctis telemedicine service.

“Spanish slugs, which are now found in Russia, can act as an intermediate host of the same helminth as in the United States,” she said. “Infection can occur due to insufficiently well-washed vegetables, fruits and berries that have come into contact with the pest.”

As a preventive measure, fruits and vegetables from the beds should be washed more thoroughly, and special attention should be paid to greens, such as lettuce, the infectious disease specialist warned. If you took the mollusk in your hands, you must also wash them thoroughly.

“The skin on your hands may not be irritated, but if you took a slug and then scratched your eye, you can fully appreciate the irritating effect of the mucus,” said biologist Mikhail Vorobyov.

The birthplace of these mollusks is the Pyrenees, but over the years they have mastered Central and part of Northern Europe. Slugs spread quickly due to the fact that neither birds nor hedgehogs eat them due to the irritating effect of mucus, said Mikhail Vorobyov.

Slugs come to Russia with batches of European vegetables and fruits.

Read more in the exclusive Izvestia article:

Snail on the lawn: what are the dangers of the giant slugs that flooded Moscow

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