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Hawaii state health officials have reported the third confirmed case of rat lungworm disease, or angiostrongyliasis in Hawaii County and in the state this year.

Image/Robert Herriman

Health officials learned recently about the case, although the individual may have been infected
as early as February. Laboratory testing though Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) State Laboratories Division confirmed the individual’s infection in mid-April. The individual was hospitalized, and the exact source of infection could not be identified.

“Diagnosis and treatment of this disease is incredibly difficult, especially since there is still much we don’t know about the parasite and the disease,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “The Governor’s Joint Task Force on Rat Lungworm Disease has done extensive work to develop preliminary clinical guidance for local physicians who may encounter patients with the disease and physician trainings will continue this year. That work, along with immediate reporting by physicians is critical to facilitate prompt, accurate diagnosis and appropriate patient management.”

Last year, the Governor’s Joint Task Force on Rat Lungworm Disease developed new preliminary guidelines and made them available to Hawai‘i physicians immediately, providing clear diagnosis, treatment, and management guidance for timely identification and care for patients who have contracted the disease.