2 new rat lungworm cases diagnosed
Two cases of rat lungworm disease were diagnosed last weekend on Hawaii Island and four others are “highly probable,” the state Department of Health reports.
Eleven have been diagnosed statewide so far in 2017.
The patients in the latest cases drank homemade kava at a Keaau home from uncovered buckets. The parasitic worm Angiostrongylus cantonensis made them sick a few weeks later. The kava was in a large bowl. After drinking most, “the individuals noticed a slug at the bottom of the bowl,” health officials said. Slugs contain the parasitic worm’s larvae from rat feces they eat.
Symptoms of rat lungworm are stiff neck, headache, fever, pain and tingling in extremities and skin.
Officials advise people to scrub produce well, especially leafy greens, and store food covered. Also, control slugs, snails and rats near gardens and farms.