They added that catchment tanks for rainwater should be covered to prevent slugs and snails from gaining access, CNN noted. However, through rat feces, the parasite can contaminate other animals like frogs, shrimps, slugs, and snails.
Next thing you know, your brain is being invaded and it doesn't sound good at all.
Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park told Fox News, "It's like having a slow-moving bullet go through your brain".
"It really does disrupt and destroy people's lives", said Lape. Researchers have noted that with climate change and increasing global travel, the parasite has been spreading to new places and causing more cases.
The couple said they're not sure how they contracted the parasite, which is often carried by rats and transmitted by snails and slugs. There are already six confirmed cases of the infection in Maui. The couple thought, "Hell, as long as we're going to Hawaii, we might as well get married there", Manilla said.
Experts say the growing number of cases on Maui is particularly troubling because there were only three confirmed cases between 2008 and previous year.
"Angiostrongylus cantonensis can present differently in adults and children". Prior to this year, there were just two infections on the island in the last 10 years.
So far, in 2017, health officials confirmed that 2 Maui residents have been affected by the rare parasitic worm. While there is an "anti-parasitic drug that can kill the worm", according to Constantine Tsigrelis, of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, a specialist in infectious diseases, the treatment "can also injure the patient's brain or nervous system", leading to a worsening of the condition.
According to Live Science, the parasite has historically been found in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, but it's recently been expanding to the US, Africa, and beyond.
Angiostrongyliasis, also known as rat lungworm, is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
There is no treatment for rat lungworm, and it is hard to diagnose, ARS Technica reported.
While there is no specific treatment for the disease, the State Department of Health notes that the parasites can not age or reproduce in humans and will eventually die over time, resulting in a "self-limiting" infection.
For the moment, health experts are doing everything they can to contain the spread of the infection, organizing public meetings to warn residents that their health is in their hands. While that seems like a specific circumstance, consumers should keep in mind that they can accidentally consume these products by eating poorly washed lettuce or other raw produce that was in contact with snails or slugs. Humans can pick up the infection by handling or eating any infected critter or by eating produce that has been contaminated by roaming infected snails and slugs.