The Maui News – The first case of rat lung disease in Maui this year was confirmed last month, the state Department of Health reported Wednesday.
The individual became ill in mid-February and was briefly hospitalized, the Health Department said. Spokeswoman Anna Koethe said Wednesday afternoon that the Health Department could not reveal where the person resides on the island due to privacy concerns.
The department believes that the infection "probable" occurred on Maui but can not be said conclusively because the adult "had so much travel history", said. The individual traveled to the island of Oahu and Hawaii during the time the infection occurred.
There were six confirmed cases of lung disease on Maui from January to March of last year, two visitors and four residents. The island had gone a decade with only two registered cases.
The six people were at Hana during the exhibition period, according to department officials.
While he could not be more specific about the city where the resident lived, Koethe said it is clear that invasive semi-slugs, the vector for transmission to humans, are found on all islands.
The Maui lung lung case was one of the two confirmed last month. The other case involved a visiting teenager from New York State who traveled with his family to the island of Hawaii in January. The person was hospitalized after returning home at the end of January, the Health Department said.
Laboratory tests confirmed a pulmonary lung or angiostrongiliasis infection in mid-March. Department officials have been in contact with physicians who treat individual and public health officials in New York.
The two cases increase the number of confirmed lung infections in Hawaii to three in 2018. There were 18 cases reported last year.  "These recent cases are a reminder that the risk of lung lung disease exists throughout the state, and we should all take precautions to prevent infection," said Dr. Sarah Park, a state epidemiologist. "We can all do our part to eliminate the risks in our homes, gardens and farms by controlling rats, slugs and snails, especially during the rainy season." Inspecting and thoroughly washing the product with clean running water can contribute largely to prevent rat worm disease. "
The disease is commonly spread through contact with the semi-slug. Rats host the worm and pass larvae through their feces. The slugs feed on that and contaminate the fruits and vegetables that humans eat, which then become infected.
Angiostrongiliasis, or lung lung disease, is caused by a parasitic worm and can have debilitating effects on the brain and spinal cord of an infected person. . Symptoms vary widely, but the most common include severe headaches and stiff neck. More severe cases experience neurological problems, severe pain and long-term disability.
There is no cure for the disease.
After the increase in cases in eastern Maui last year, there was a broad effort of education and vector control. Koethe praised Dr. Lorrin Pang, health officer of the Maui department, as "a role model" for his efforts to combat the disease.
The tips for preventing lung disease include:
• Inspection, washing and storing products in sealed containers, regardless of whether they come from a local retailer, farmer's market or backyard garden.
• Wash all fruits and vegetables with clean tap water to remove any slugs or small snails. Pay close attention to green leafy vegetables.
• Control the populations of snails, slugs and rats around houses, gardens and farms. Dispose of them safely by using traps and baits and always wear gloves.
For more information about lung disease and how to prevent its spread, visit the following websites:
• Department of Health, health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat- lungworm-angiostrongyliasis /.
• Department of Agriculture, hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rat-lungworm-information/.
• Faculty of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources of the University of Hawaii, manoa.hawaii.edu/ctahr/ farmfoodsafety / rat-lungworm /.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/parasites/angiostrongylus/index.html.