Rat lungworm disease may be under recognized on Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaii News Now reports that a new case of rat lungworm disease has been reported on Hawaii Island, the Department of Health said Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide to 15.
The individual was hospitalized for disease-related treatment and has since been discharged, according to a health department spokesperson.
In all, nine Big Island residents had already contracted the parasite before this week’s new case, along with four Maui residents and two visitors who had stayed on the Valley Isle.
In other news, Hawaii News Now also reports the state Health Department has a message for parents: Don’t let your kids drink from the hose.
That’s because rat lungworm disease-carrying slugs can curl up in garden hoses — and could pass the brain-invading parasite on through the water.
Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasite found in rats and passed on to snails, slugs and some freshwater animals like prawns, shrimp and fish.
Victims are infected after ingesting the parasite. Rats excrete the larvae which is ingested by the slug or snail.
Produce — such as green, leafy plants — attract snails and slugs and the infected veggies or animals are consumed by victims.