Rat lungworm disease infects human through raw food
13 April, 2017, 02:28 | Author: Kelly Sanders
They added that catchment tanks for rainwater should be covered to prevent slugs and snails from gaining access, CNNnoted.
Depending what part of the brain the parasite lodges itself in, the symptoms can range accordingly.
Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park told Fox News, "It's like having a slow-moving bullet go through your brain".
Transmission can also occur when people eat infected crabs, shrimp and frogs, though this is believed to be less common, Walden said.
Usually there are no symptoms to the infection and most of the people recover on their own.
"I can not teach because of this disease", the former art teacher said.
People can get infected by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs that have been infected by the parasite, or by handling contaminated fruits and vegetables.
Cases of rat lungworm infections have been documented in over 30 countries and health officials are anxious about its appearance in areas where previously the habitat was believed to be unsuitable. He also noticed that most of the known cases of the disease were from residents of Maui in the Hana area.
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Typically, the state gets reports of one to nine cases of rat lungworm each year, with two related deaths since 2007, Okubo said. The rat lungworm also called the Angiostrongylus cantonensis infects rats' lungs and their blood.
Hawaii only has two cases, but it has 10 recorded logs of people carrying the infection in a year. "Some suggest that it's due to snails or slugs in the ship ballasts-ships coming from Asia and going through the Panama Canal".
There have been eight possible cases of brain parasite infection in Hawaii and the number could rise, health officials say. It shocked Lape and Manilla, who considered themselves "pretty healthy individuals" who'd never gotten any sickness as awful as rat lungworm. The latter can produce meningitis in humans, according to a reported issued by the Centers for Control Disease and Prevention.
Once the rat lungworm affects the brain it can then lead to further complications.
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"Our body realizes this is so foreign we attack it...by that time the worm is one inch big and by then it's a major battle", Pang said, describing the immune system fight to kill the parasite. Authorities advise locals and tourists alike to wash the vegetables and fruits properly and avoid uncooked meat of animals.
While there is no specific treatment for the disease, the State Department of Health notes that the parasites can not age or reproduce in humans and will eventually die over time, resulting in a "self-limiting" infection. Humans can become infected by eating raw produce with tiny snails or slugs that have eaten the lungworms.
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