Florida anticipates end to screwworm infestation in Keys

Florida's agriculture commissioner says the state anticipates winning its fight against a flesh-eating parasite that's threatening endangered deer in the Florida Keys.

Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday that no wild screwworm flies have been found in the Keys since Jan. 10.

To fight the infestation, millions of male screwworm flies sterilized with radiation have been released over the Keys and the agricultural areas south of Miami. Putnam said those releases will end in late April.

The state also will shut down a highway checkpoint where animals leaving the Keys were inspected for the maggots that can eat livestock and pets alive.

U.S. wildlife officials have said no Key deer have died because of screwworms since January. Putnam said it's "too early to declare mission accomplished," but the outlook was promising.