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Rat lungworm meeting set for North Kohala library

  • COURTESY PHOTO

    Snails, rats and slugs can transmit the rat lungworm parasite.

The state Department of Health is educating the public on rat lungworm disease at a meeting Monday at the North Kohala Public Library.

Health officials will talk about how to protect against angiostrongyliasis, caused by a parasitic roundworm that infects snails and slugs and can have debilitating effects on the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary from headaches and neck stiffness to neurological problems, severe pain and long-term disability.

So far this year the DOH has confirmed two cases of the disease in Hawaii island residents — one from North Kohala, who likely ingested a snail or slug infected with the parasite by accident.

The meeting will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 54-3645 Akoni Pule Hwy. in Kapaau. For more information, go to bit.ly/2Xnxr1F.

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