Health authorities have confirmed a case of rat lungworm disease in a sick Hawaiian infant since December. Although the state health department did not identify the baby, nor did it release an update on his condition, he revealed that he had already been transferred from Big Island to an Oahu hospital for treatment. to be healed.

The baby's diagnosis is the sixth confirmed case of rat lungworm on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018. A press release added that a case investigation of the child was underway.

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"It is difficult to determine the exact source of rat lungworm disease in any patient, as this requires dipping into the history of food consumption," said Bruce Anderson, director of health in Hawaii, in a statement. the press release. "Babies can be even more complicated because they can not verbalize their symptoms or what they have eaten. A parent or caregiver should see them pick up a slug or snail and put it in their mouths. We know that this is how most children with rat lungworm disease are infected. It is therefore important that our keiki is as far removed as possible from these harmful vectors. "

The rat lung worm is a parasite that can infect creatures through the stool of rodents. Infections occur in snails and slugs when they consume the parasite larvae, while humans contract the disease if they consume the delicacies affected when they are raw or not fully cooked.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the consumption of raw or undercooked frogs, crabs and freshwater shrimps can also increase your risk.

"People can also be accidentally infected by eating raw products (such as lettuce) containing a small snail, slug or part of it," according to the CDC.

Although the onset of symptoms may take an average of one to three weeks, patients may begin to experience nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, and headache the day after the infection. Although there is no specific treatment for rat lungworm disease, the symptoms are usually handled on a case-by-case basis. Severe cases can lead to neurological problems or long-term disability.

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In November 2018, Australian Sam Ballard, who had eaten a slug as a challenge, died eight years after the diagnosis of the disease. Ballard had fallen into a coma of 420 days shortly after the fateful night and had lived his years of survival with brain injury.

Authorities in Hawaii urge residents to control snail, slug, and rat populations around gardens and farms to prevent the disease. The state also advised residents to wear gloves when they were working outside, to inspect, wash and store products in sealed containers and wash all fruits and vegetables under running water.