2 New Cases of Brain-Infecting Parasite Include Child Visiting Hawaii From New York, Health Officials Say - NBC New York

2 New Cases of Brain-Infecting Parasite Include Child Visiting Hawaii From New York, Health Officials Say

There is no specific treatment for the disease, and in rare cases it can result in death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bay Area Newlyweds Contract Brain-Infecting Parasite While Honeymooning in Hawaii

    Newlyweds Ben Manilla, a journalism professor at UC Berkeley, and Eliza Lape contracted a brain-infecting parasite called rat lungworm disease, according to Hawaii News Now.

    (Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017)

    What to Know

    • Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasite that impacts rats that then excrete worm larvae.

    • Slugs and snails consume the larvae, which can be passed on to humans via raw produce, freshwater shrimp and land crabs

    • The parasitic worms trigger a rare meningitis that affects the brain and spinal cord

    An adolescent from New York is one of two new cases of rat lungworm infections, a disease caused by a brain-infecting parasite, in Hawaii, health officials in that state confirm.

    Health officials said Wednesday the adolescent was visiting the Big Island in January, though didn't identify the child or say where the child lives in New York. The adolescent was hospitalized a month after returning to New York.

    There was no immediate word on the adolescent's condition Thursday.

    The other case is a Maui resident. Officials said the Maui resident became ill in mid-February and was briefly hospitalized. The individual was most likely infected on Maui but had a history of traveling to Oahu and the Big Island during the time when the infection might have occurred.

    The two confirmed cases bring the state's count up to three for 2018. The first case involved an adult West Hawaii resident.

    Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasite that impacts rats that then excrete worm larvae. Slugs and snails consume the larvae, which can be passed on to humans via raw produce, freshwater shrimp and land crabs, according to the Hawaii Health Department. The parasitic worms trigger a rare meningitis that affects the brain and spinal cord.

    There is no specific treatment for the disease, and in rare cases it can result in death.

    A pair of California newlyweds contracted the disease last year. The husband spent a month in the ICU, had several surgeries, a blood clot and dealt with two bouts of pneumonia, among other problems. 

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