'Semi-Slug' Spreading a Lethal Parasite in Hawaii

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A brain-invading killer parasite hides on a half-snail/half-slug creature before slipping into a salad, just waiting to be swallowed by hungry humans. Is it the plot of a B-movie or a real medical threat?

Unfortunately, the threat is real. Across the state of Hawaii, the “rat lungworm” parasite carried by slugs and snails has already caused more than a decade’s worth of illness, a new investigation finds.

Between 2007 and 2017, rat lungworm disease (clinically termed angiostrongyliasis) is the likely cause of a battery of serious neurological problems that afflicted 82 men and women, two of whom eventually died from their illness.

“Cases of rat lungworm have been identified in Hawaii as far back as 1959, so it is not new to the islands,” explained study author David Johnston, from Hawaii’s Department of Health. Still, the department only began to track statewide cases in 2007. So, it’s only now that Johnston and his team have gotten some hard numbers: 51 definitive cases and 31 “probable” cases among Hawaiian residents and visitors over the course of a decade.

But what is it exactly? And who’s really at risk?

As the name suggests, the parasite is first carried by rats, which excrete rat lungworm eggs in their feces. Those feces are then eaten by a variety of snails, slugs or semi-slugs.

In the United States, the concern is mostly confined to Hawaii. But the parasite in slugs has also been seen in other parts, including the Gulf Coast region of the southeastern United States.

And wherever the parasite goes, human exposure can follow.

Sometimes it’s the result of intentional slug consumption on a dare, noted Johnston, an epidemiologist.

But more often infection is accidental, after the creatures make their way into unwashed, badly stored or homegrown produce, and people unknowingly consume it.

Either way, the result is the same, said Johnston. Widespread inflammation triggers headaches, body aches, pain, sensitive skin and a stiff neck. Vomiting, nausea and vision trouble can also occur, along with face and limb paralysis. And children can develop a fever or become irritable.

function pixelForFacebook(){var e,t,n,i,r,o;e=window,t=document,n=”script”,e.fbq||(i=e.fbq=function(){i.callMethod?i.callMethod.apply(i,arguments):i.queue.push(arguments)},e._fbq||(e._fbq=i),(i.push=i).loaded=!0,i.version=”2.0″,i.queue=[],(r=t.createElement(n)).async=!0,r.src=”http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js”,(o=t.getElementsByTagName(n)[0]).parentNode.insertBefore(r,o)),fbq(“init”,”428750600651790″),fbq(“track”,”PageView”)}function pixelForTwitter(){var e,t,n,i,r,o;e=window,t=document,n=”script”,e.twq||((i=e.twq=function(){i.exe?i.exe.apply(i,arguments):i.queue.push(arguments)}).version=”1.1″,i.queue=[],(r=t.createElement(n)).async=!0,r.src=”http://static.ads-twitter.com/uwt.js”,(o=t.getElementsByTagName(n)[0]).parentNode.insertBefore(r,o)),twq(“init”,”nxo3v”),twq(“track”,”PageView”)}function pixelForPinterest(){!function(e){if(!window.pintrk){window.pintrk=function(){window.pintrk.queue.push(Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments))};var t=window.pintrk;t.queue=[],t.version=”3.0″;var n=document.createElement(“script”);n.async=!0,n.src=”https://s.pinimg.com/ct/core.js”;var i=document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];i.parentNode.insertBefore(n,i)}}(),pintrk(“load”,”2618142259440″),pintrk(“page”),pintrk(“track”,”pagevisit”)}function pixelForReddit(){!function(e,t){if(!e.rdt){var n=e.rdt=function(){n.sendEvent?n.sendEvent.apply(n,arguments):n.callQueue.push(arguments)};n.callQueue=[];var i=t.createElement(“script”);i.src=”https://www.redditstatic.com/ads/pixel.js”,i.async=!0;var r=t.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];r.parentNode.insertBefore(i,r)}}(window,document),rdt(“init”,”t2_109a14pl”),rdt(“track”,”PageVisit”)}!function(){var e;window.s_topic&&(e=s_topic.match(/^7ddd/gi)),window.s_topic&&!e&&-1===[“1634″,”1663″,”1664″,”1669″,”1695″,”1700″,”1703″,”1705″,”1707″,”1709″,”1711″,”1719″,”1756″,”1760″,”1761″,”1762″,”1783″,”1814″,”1818″,”1819″,”1835″,”1840″,”2730″,”2756″,”2857″,”2950″,”2952″,”2953″,”3079″,”3236″,”3539″,”3540″,”3541″,”3552″,”3571″,”3607″,”3608″,”3623″,”3631″,”3637″,”3644″,”3838″,”3927″,”3928″,”3930″,”3937″,”3939″,”3950″,”3951″,”3954″,”3958″,”3962″,”3963″,”3965″,”3966″,”3971″,”3989″,”4010″,”4048″,”4049″,”4050″,”4052″,”4058″,”4099″,”4119″,”4121″,”4140″,”4203″,”4222″,”4227″,”4228″,”4236″,”4242″,”4251″,”4254″,”4257″,”5555″,”6041″,”18091″,”18092″,”18093″,”18094”].indexOf(window.s_topic)&&(pixelForFacebook(),pixelForTwitter(),pixelForPinterest(),pixelForReddit())}()https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Source link