Hawaii bill could boost funding for rat lungworm battle

Updated: Feb. 24, 2017 at 4:40 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are considering putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight rat lungworm disease, a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people's brains.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that a bill being debated by legislators would provide an undetermined amount of funding to the University of Hawaii to spearhead research and prevention efforts to combat the potentially deadly disease.

UH researcher Sue Jarvi told lawmakers during a Wednesday briefing that it would cost about $350,000 and $400,000 to hire people to assist in her work on the disease.

According to state data, there have been 58 cases of isle residents contracting the disease in the past decade.

But health officials say the disease, which is carried by rats and transmitted by snails and slugs, is underreported.

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