The state has confirmed a third case of rat lungworm disease on Hawaii island.
An East Hawaii resident earlier this month tested positive for the disease, known as angiostrongyliasis, caused by a parasitic roundworm. The Health Department said the individual may have been infected as early as February, though it could not determine the exact source of infection. The patient was hospitalized and is recovering, the department said.
“Diagnosis and treatment of this disease is incredibly difficult, especially since there is still much we don’t know about the parasite and the disease,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson in a news release, adding that the state is working to develop clinical guidelines and training for local doctors.
The disease can cause a range of symptoms including severe headaches, pain and neurological problems, as well as long-term disability.
The Department of Health is urging residents to control the snail, slug and rat populations around homes, gardens and farms by clearing debris and using traps and baits. The DOH also recommends consumers inspect, wash and store produce in sealed containers and thoroughly clean leafy greens to remove any tiny slugs or snails.