comscore Hawaii confirms ninth case of rat lungworm disease in 2019 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Newswatch | Top News

Hawaii confirms ninth case of rat lungworm disease in 2019

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF HEALTH
                                Humans can contract rat lungworm disease by eating food contaminated with slugs or snails, or their slime.

    COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF HEALTH

    Humans can contract rat lungworm disease by eating food contaminated with slugs or snails, or their slime.

The state has confirmed a ninth case of rat lungworm disease in 2019 in an adult on Kauai.

The Department of Health said today that the adult contracted angiostrongyliasis, a potentially debilitating disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, after traveling to Hawaii island in mid-December. A spinal tap confirmed the disease, which symptoms include severe pain and headaches, neck stiffness and in the worst cases, long-term disability and death.

The other eight individuals also likely contracted the disease last year while on the Big Island.

A DOH investigation was not able to identify an exact source of infection.

So far there have been no confirmed cases in 2020, but health officials continue to advise the public to thoroughly inspect and rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, to “remove pests and other contaminants.”

“When in doubt, cooking food by boiling for 3 to 5 minutes or heating to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds can kill the parasite that causes rat lungworm disease,” said state epidemiologist Sarah Park.

Controlling the snail, slug, and rat populations around homes, gardens and farms is also advised.

Rat lungworm is caused by a parasitic roundworm that gets into the body most commonly when individuals accidentally ingest an infected snail or slug.

Comments (2)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up