Health officials have stated that among the six confirmed cases, two of them involve visitors of the island that came from North Carolina on vacation, while the other 4 cases involve residents.
Walden's colleagues in Hawaii say cases of rat lungworm disease have been on the rise for two decades or so. These cases are under investigation and have not been laboratory confirmed. She was temporarily assigned to Hawaiʻi Island, where cases have surfaced in recent years. "(Childbirth) was like eating ice cream compared to this", she said. Smashing, burying or burning them does not deter rats from eating them and restarting the cycle of rat lungworm.
"The brain parasite can be hard to diagnose because no blood test is available that will confirm an infection is present".
It is unclear how he became infected, though symptoms began when he was visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. Testing for the disease is challenging and requires spinal fluid from the sick person.
Howe has said the medical community is not sufficiently aware of rat lungworm disease and doesn't know how to diagnose or treat it.
A 2015 study identified the presence of rat lungworm in Oklahoma,"an area predicted to lack suitable habitat for the parasite" - with the researchers commenting that human-caused factors such as global travel, human encroachment into wildlife habitat, and climate change could all influence the distribution and emergence of disease. The adult form of A. cantonensis is only found in rodents.More news: How Cedar Realty Trust Inc's (CDR) 1.5% ROE Fares Against The Industry?
The rat lungworm grows inside the blood vessels of rats lungs but the larvae can be present in their droppings which are eaten by the snail and other animals through which they pass inside the human body. People can be infected if they eat an infected slug or snail, or even consume slug or snail residue left on unwashed vegetables, ABC News reported. The disease can be carried by infected rats on container ships, as well as by intermediate hosts such as snails or slugs. Angiostrongyliasis is not spread person-to-person.
Symptoms of angiostrongyliasis may include severe headache, stiffness of the neck and back, skin tingling, pain and sensitivity, sensitivity to light, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting and sometimes coma and death.
However, the CDC says that "Diagnosing A. cantonensis infections can be hard, in part because there are no readily available blood tests". "The problem isn't going to go away", Maui Invasive Species Committee Manager Adam Radford told The Maui News.
The Department of Health says so far there are nine confirmed cases of the disease.
In humans, the parasite will not develop to sexual maturity and may live for up to a year in the human body but will eventually die.
"It's important to appropriately store, inspect, and wash produce, especially leafy greens", Okubo said.