CDC confirms case of rat lungworm in Big Island visitor

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed another case of rat lungworm disease in a Big Island visitor — the sixth in the state, and on Hawaii Island, this year.

An adult mainland resident was traveling in West Hawaii when they were infected with the parasite that causes the disease, according to the state Department of Health.

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The individual became ill in early February and was hospitalized a short time on the mainland.

While an exact source of the infection was not identified, the individual reported eating a lot of fresh fruits and not washing them all before, the DOH said.

Rat lungworm 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.

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The DOH recommends washing all fruits and vegetables under clean, running water to remove any tiny slugs or snails, paying close attention to leafy greens, and controlling snail, slug and rat populations around homes and gardens.

For more information, visit bit.ly/DOHratlungworm.

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