STAR ADVERTISER / OCT. 201
A snail in a glass suspected of being infected with rat lungworm parasites. The State Department of Health has obtained confirmation from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of three independent cases of rat lungworm disease diagnosed among visitors to the island of Hawaii
All three were adults from the US mainland, the United States Hawaii visited between now and last year when they were infected with the parasitic roundworm that caused the rat lungworm disease. The disease can have debilitating effects on the brain and spinal cord of an infected person.
One of the individuals visited East Hawaii in December 2018 and became infected after eating a snail on a challenge. The other two people traveled to the west side of the island of Hawaii, and the exact source of their infections is still unknown, but one consumed homemade salads and the other ate unwashed fruits and vegetables.
In chronological order:
>> The first person fell ill after eating a snail in Hawaii at the end of December, but was not hospitalized because of his symptoms. This person was the eighth person infected in Hawaii in 2018 to perform a positive rat rat lungworm test, bringing the nationwide total to 10 confirmed cases in the last year.
>> The second person became ill at the beginning of January this year and an investigation was not carried out to find out how he or she was infected. The person recalls, however, that she had eaten many homemade salads on vacation.
>> The third person fell ill at the end of February this year and was hospitalized for a short time. The investigation was unable to identify an exact source of infection, but the person was probably infected while "grazing" or eating unwashed raw fruits, vegetables and other plants directly from the land.
This results in a nationwide total of confirmed cases. All contracts were completed in Hawaii this year.
"It is important that our visitors are aware of precautionary measures for the prevention of rat lung disease, which can have serious long-term consequences," said Health Director Bruce Anderson in a press release. "Sharing information about the disease to visitors is as important as educating our residents."
While the State Department of Health provides information on rat lungworms on signs at local airports and shopping malls, Anderson acknowledged that more needs to be done.
"We acknowledge that more work is needed in educating residents and visitors and in ensuring that they know how to prevent the spread of this disease.
The state recommends the following Prevent rat lungworm disease:
>> Wash fruit and vegetables under clean, running water to remove small snails or snails, especially for leafy vegetables.
>> Control snail, snail and rat populations in houses Gardens and farms by removing debris and using traps and baits.
>> For safety reasons always wear gloves when working outdoors.
>> Examine, wash and store products in sealed containers, regardless of whether they come from a local retailer, farmer's market or garden.
Further information on the prevention of rat lungworm diseases is available Available from the State Department of Health and the State Department of Agriculture.