Apparently, Hawaii is not the most relaxed area in the US. Health officials from Hawaii are starting to worry about a rare parasite known as rat lungworm. This parasitic worm can cause a lot of damage and it is spreading at a fast rate. Health authorities are concerned because during the last decade only 2 cases of this disease were reported while, this year, there are 6 confirmed cases.
- Six cases of rat lungworm are confirmed
- Other four cases are under investigation
- This parasite can cause a rare form of meningitis.
In the last three months, health officials confirmed 6 cases and other 4 are under investigation. This parasitic worm can affect the brain and it can cause severe health problems. In rare cases, the Angiostrongylus cantonensis can even prove to be deadly. In Hawaii, the rat lungworm is spreading faster than expected.
The Damage Caused By the Parasite
People who eat undercooked or raw snails, as well as contaminated vegetables and fruits, can catch the infection. There is no treatment for the worm named Angiostrongylus cantonensis that causes the infection. Health officials are starting to get even more concerned because the worm is spreading too fast.
Once people catch the infection they can even develop meningitis. There are a few symptoms that can signal people they have been infected. Some of the symptoms include nausea, headache, neck stiffness, and vomiting. Most people make a full recovery but they should seek medical attention when they experience any of these symptoms.
This parasitic worm has earned its name due to its main carrier, rats. However, it can also infect snails and slugs. The CDC mentioned that people who eat contaminated fruits and vegetables, as well as raw snails or slugs, can get infected.
Despite the fact that in the last decade only a few cases of rat lungworm were reported, starting last year, the number is rapidly increasing. This parasitic worm can be found in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific Islands. In the last few years, the Angiostrongylus cantonensis has been seen in Africa, the Caribbean, and in the US.
Authorities are urging everybody to thoroughly wash their hands and any raw fruits and vegetables they plan on eating. Moreover, tourists are advised to avoid Hawaii at the moment, mainly because from the 6 confirmed cases, 2 were visitors.
What is your opinion about this report? Have you heard about this parasite?
Image source: Wikipedia