HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -The State Department of Health has confirmed the sixth case of rat lungworm disease in the state. It was recently detected in a visitor to Hawaii Island.
According to the DOH, the latest visitor to contract the disease lives on the mainland. The individual fell ill in early February and was hospitalized back in the states.
Lab tests later confirmed it was rat lungworm disease.
Although officials don’t know exactly when or how the visitor got the disease, health officials said the the person reported eating a lot of fresh fruits without washing them first.
Since the cases came to light in the islands, officials have urged consumers to wash all produce well before eating it.
“Washing fresh fruits and vegetables carefully no matter where they come from is an important step to preventing rat lungworm disease,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “Thoroughly inspecting and rinsing produce under clean, running water is the most effective way to remove pests and other contaminants.”
The confirmed cases so far have been in three residents and three visitors.
For more information on rat lungworm and how to prevent it, click here.