Parasites Able To Infect Human Brains Found In Hawaii

Hawaii’s Department of Health alerts tourists against a parasite that can be found in food. The department issued a consultative in the previous week for those planning to spend their holidays in Hawaii.

The executives are linking their forces to warn tourists about the rat lungworm disease, a condition created by a parasite that can infect human brains. The parasite is mostly found in food and beverages. Officials released the consultative on May the 23rd, after three separate cases of rat lungworm disease, warning the public to mind what they eat.

The rat lungworm cases were reported and then confirmed by the federal ​Centers for Disease Control​ and Prevention (CDCP), and were all linked to Hawaii. The first case was reported in December 2018, the second one in January 2019, and the last one in February 2019. All three people have been on a trip to Hawaii before they started to experience their symptoms.

Parasites Able To Infect Human Brains Found In Hawaii

The condition created by the parasite is officially known as angiostrongyliasis​​ but is it called rat lungworm disease in ordinary language. People who are infected by this parasite can encounter long-term severe health effects, the most critical being disability, and intense headaches. However, these cases seem to be rather infrequent, with ten total confirmed instances in Hawaii, in the previous year.

The parasite is most of the time contacted by consuming infected slugs or snails, although it is passed through by rats. Other foods such as salad and wild plants can contain infected slugs which are consumed along with the plant. One of the three cases confirmed by the CDC contacted the parasite after consuming a slug. The second case may have acquired the parasite after eating salads, and the third case after eating plants provided from the wild areas of Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Department of Health wants to increase its educational alertness attempts, assuring tourists are informed about the risk of acquiring the parasite and what they can do to avoid it. As said by officials, people in Hawaii should wash all fruit, vegetables, leafy greens and all kinds of plants, ensuring no slug or snail remains.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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