Sixth case of rat lungworm disease in 2019 confirmed in visitor to Hawaii Island

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Health has received notification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a laboratory-confirmed case of angiostrongyliasis, or rat lungworm disease, in an adult visitor to Hawaii Island.

With the additional case confirmed by CDC, this brings the statewide total to six cases of individuals confirmed with angiostrongyliasis in 2019. This includes three residents and three visitors all of which likely contracted the disease on Hawai‘i Island.

The sixth individual was an adult resident of the U.S. mainland and was traveling in West Hawaii when they were infected with the parasite causing rat lungworm disease. The individual became ill in early February and was hospitalized on the mainland for a short time for their symptoms. The investigation was not able to identify an exact source of infection. However, they reported eating a lot of fresh fruits and not washing them all before eating them.

“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.”


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