State confirms 17th case of rat lungworm

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Health has confirmed an additional case of rat lungworm disease in an infant from the Puna District of Hawaii Island.

This is the 10th laboratory-confirmed case of rat lungworm disease contracted on Hawaii Island this year, bringing the statewide total to 17 cases in 2017. After a detailed investigation, DOH learned the infant became infected likely after accidentally consuming a slug or snail.

“This is an extremely unfortunate incident, with the infant currently hospitalized and receiving care,” said Aaron Ueno, Hawaii Island District Health officer.

He added, “The Hawaii Island District Health Office is making a concerted effort to reach parents and caregivers of infants and young children by providing education and resources about rat lungworm disease prevention to our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Early Intervention Services clients and our partners, including pediatricians and other healthcare providers.”

DOH recommends parents and caregivers of infants and young children take extra precautions.

As well, fruits and vegetables should be washed and rubbed under running water, especially leafy greens, to remove any tiny slugs or snails.

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