Brain-Infecting Worms Are Becoming Frequent In Hawaii

Tabitha Dunn
April 13, 2017

Since the parasites can not mature or reproduce in humans, they will eventually die off after unleashing their wrath of unpleasant side effects on the host.

Parasitic worm larvae are carried by rats, left in their feces and then transmitted by snails and slugs. However, it can cause permanent damage as it invades the brain and its membrane.

"It turned our lives upside down and inside out", Lape said.

Two people said they ate some of the salad before discovering the bat, which was sent to the CDC rabies lab for testing. This form of meningitis, a swelling of the thin membrane covering the spinal cord and brain, specifically caused by the parasite.

Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, says there is an average of 10 rat lungworm cases annually in Hawaii, and this spike is worrisome.

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Meanwhile, the rat lungworm had two cases being confirmed in the past as shared by the Maui health officials.

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"I$3 t's a worm infection introduced into North America through globalisation", virologist Peter Hotez from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston told Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic.

Health officials in Hawaii are investigating at least four other possible cases. The rat lungworm is mainly found in the Pacific Basin and Southeast Asia, but has also been spotted in Hawaii, Louisiana, and the Caribbean, according to the CDC's official literature on the worm. It has become such a concern that the University of Hawai'i at Hilo is hosting a presentation on Wednesday night to educate the public about disease prevention.

The disease is a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people's brains.

A week and a half after their return, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF diagnosed them, she said.

According to a report from ABC News, the rat lungworm is known by the scientific name Angiostrongylus cantonesis, and once people are infected, there is no known treatment.

People come in contact after eating such infected animals or even if consuming contaminated raw fruit and vegetables. However, in some cases the worm manages reaching the brains and nervous system. "So making sure that the foods you eat are cooked properly, your vegetables are washed - that would help you prevent infection", Walden said.

The rise in cases of the brain parasite, angiostrongylus cantonensis, is being blamed on globalization, climate change, touching infected creatures like snails and slugs bare handed, and on eating raw or undercooked freshwater shrimp, snails, or slugs that are infected with the potentially deadly nematode.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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