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Rat lungworm disease confirmed in three Hawaii visitors



(CNN) – Rat lung worm disease has recently suffered

three additional visitors

to the state of Hawaii, bringing the total number of cases to 10 for 2018 and five so far this year, the State Department of Health said.

The three cases confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not related and affected three adult travelers from the mainland in the United States.

All five of this year's cases were signed on Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island This island is one of several in the state of Hawaii.

A parasitic infection is known formally known as angiostrongyliasis, which is often mild and undetectable.

However, rat lung worms can also cause severe effects on a person's brain and spinal cord, according to the CDC. The symptoms vary and the most common are severe headaches and neck stiffness. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, severe pain and prolonged disability, CDC says.

The exact moment of infection is unknown for each of the three newly confirmed Hawaii cases, although one remembers "eating many homemade salads while on vacation" while another ate greasy raw fruits, vegetables and other plants equally from the ground, according to the Ministry of Health.

One of last year's 1

0 totally confirmed cases became ill after having had a slug for the Ministry of Health. However, most people get sick by ingesting a snail or slug infected with the parasite.

The disease usually lasts between two weeks and two months, and on average, the incubation period is one to three weeks. However, an infection can be incubated in only a single day or for six weeks, according to the CDC.

Endemic in Hawaii

Heather Stockdale Walden,

an assistant professor of parasitology at the University of Florida, previously told CNN that rat lungworm disease has "been endemic in Hawaii for at least 50 years."

The parasite can mature fully in rats. Trees and snails of various gardens that eat rat sacrifice can serve as intermediaries so that the parasite can grow to a stage where it is capable of causing infection, but never to full adulthood (and never capable of reproduction).

When the parasite enters a human, it can be lost and in some cases "go into the brain," Walden explained.

In such cases, meningitis, swelling of the thin membrane covering the spinal cord and the brain may result. The ingested parasite "can also move to the eye and you can get ocular angiostrongylus," Walden said. Surgical removal may be necessary in these cases. In the best case, patients develop mild disease and become better alone.

People who are sick with rat pulmonary disease do not become infectious.

Prevention of an Infection

"It is important that we ensure our visitors the precautions to be taken to prevent lung disease in the lungs," said Hawaii Health Director Bruce Anderson in a statement.

The State Health Department recommends that you wash all fruits and vegetables – especially green vegetables – under clean running water to remove any small snails or snails. Snail, slug and rat populations must be managed around homes, gardens and farms by clearing waste where they can live and also using traps and baits.

Also inspect, wash and store products in closed containers, whether from a local dealer, farmer's market or backyard.

In the Hawaiian Islands, about 80% of land snails are carriers of the parasite according to a

2014 research paper

.

First discovered in China in 1935, rat lungworm disease has spread to Asia, Australia, America (including Brazil, the Caribbean and the United States) and the Pacific Islands. More than 2,800 human infections

have been reported in 30 countries.

Anyone who is concerned that they may be infected should consult a healthcare provider.

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