New case of rat lungworm disease confirmed in Hawaii

Rat Lungworm/File
Rat Lungworm/File(HNN File)
Published: Jan. 30, 2020 at 5:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another case of rat lungworm disease has been confirmed in the state.

On Thursday, the Department of Health said the disease was found in a Kauai resident. They contracted the disease while visiting Hawaii Island in December.

The latest confirmation brings the number of cases in 2019 to nine.

Investigators were not able to find the source of the infection, which is usually contracted by eating unwashed produce that is contaminated by an infected slug or snail.

“Thoroughly inspecting and rinsing all fresh fruits and vegetables under clean, running water can go a long way in making our food safer to eat, and it is the most effective way to remove pests and other contaminants,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

“When in doubt, cooking food by boiling for 3 to 5 minutes or heating to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds can kill the parasite that causes rat lungworm disease,” Park added.

The patient experienced typical symptoms of headaches, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness and joint pain.

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