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Third rat lungworm case identified on BI

A third case of rat lungworm disease has been diagnosed this year on the Big Island, state health officials have confirmed.

According to the state Department of Health, the individual is a resident of East Hawaii and was hospitalized, but the exact source of the infection could not be identified.

It is also the third laboratory-confirmed case statewide this year.

Health officials recently learned about the case, although the individual may have been infected as early as February, a DOH news release stated. The infection was confirmed in mid-April.

Rat lungworm, or angiostrongyliasis, is caused by a parasitic roundworm and can affect a person’s brain and spinal cord.

In Hawaii, most people become ill by accidentally ingesting a snail or slug infected with the parasite, the DOH previously said.

To prevent rat lungworm disease, the DOH recommends:

• Control snail, slug, and rat populations around homes, gardens and farms by clearing debris where they might live, and also using traps and baits. Always wear gloves for safety when working outdoors.

• Inspect, wash and store produce in sealed containers, regardless of whether it came from a local retailer, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.

• Wash all fruits and vegetables under clean, running water to remove any tiny slugs or snails. Pay close attention to leafy greens.

For more information about rat lungworm, visit bit.ly/DOHratlungworm.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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