The state agriculture and health departments and University of Hawaii are coordinating three public informational meetings on rat lungworm disease on Oahu this month.
Agricultural and health officials will provide information on how to reduce the risk of rat lungworm disease and other foodborne illnesses at the following times and locations:
>> 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Waimanalo Elementary/Intermediate School cafeteria, 41-1330 Kalanianaole Hwy.
>> 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 at Kahuku High School cafeteria, 56-490 Kamehameha Hwy.
>> 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, 94-340 Kunia Rd.
Farmers, home gardeners and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.
Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasitic nematode called Angiostrongylus cantonensis which may be carried by rodents, snails, slugs and other animals including freshwater shrimp, land crabs and frogs. Humans can acquire the infection by eating raw or under-cooked snails, slugs or other animals infected with the parasite.
To date this year, there have been 16 laboratory-confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease statewide — 9 on Hawaii island, six on Maui and one on Oahu.