RLW Task Force

East Maui Rat Lungworm Disease Task Force

It is safe to eat local East Maui produce, just take basic precautions!

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to wash your produce with running water and inspect it carefully, and to cook it. Especially leafy greens, like kale, that has many folds for slugs to hide in. Rinsing with running water washes the slug off, and cooking kills the parasite that causes the disease.

Education, prevention, research and vector control are the goals of this task force.

Several Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) disease cases have been documented in East Maui in early 2017. This has caused great concern among residents and visitors.

An emergency community meeting held by the Department of Health in April 2017 drew approx. 200 attendees, and a follow-up meeting for agricultural producers was attended by about 30 growers. Along with articles in local papers, CNN also picked up on the story of a tourist couple who was infected while visiting Hana.

We need to be proactive as a community with outreach and educational programs to share accurate and up-to-date information, both regarding proper and effective produce handling, and vector control methods for growers (targeting both rats and mollusks), in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

Because fear of the disease is having a real impact on our local agricultural producers, we also need to share a message of food safety to restore consumer confidence, encouraging consumers to continue supporting our local farmers as long as they take basic precautions to prevent the disease, including washing and cooking or freezing produce.

We have taken the initiative to establish a task force for RLW response in East Maui. Through the Hawaii Farmers Union United-Hana Chapter, under the umbrella of the Hawaii Farmers Union Foundation, we have received funding from Hawaii Community Foundation to hire two part-time RLW response coordinators, and purchase supplies for vector control kits to be distributed in the community.

As part of that effort, we have established this website as a way to consolidate current and accurate information and resources for residents and visitors, and facilitate the coordinated response to prevent the further spread of RLW disease in East Maui.

Success will require participation from the entire community.  If you live in East Maui, please contact us to learn about all the different ways you can participate.

Team Goals



Vector Control Kits

A habit a day keeps the doctor away

Where we've been

Updates From the Field
Visit our info booth

Visit our info booth

New semi-slug research published by Cowie et al

Rat Lungworm disease Survivors Support Group 2/24

Rat Lungworm disease Survivors Support Group 2/24

More farm visits scheduled 9/14-15

Task Force Meeting August 17

Assisting Farmers with RLW Vector Control

Assisting Farmers with RLW Vector Control

This is a force with a task

This is a force with a task

We’ll stop by with a kit

We’ll stop by with a kit




We seek to deputize a posse of RLW fighting rangers from our amazing community. Our first priority i
Rats frequently become infected with RLW. Field studies on Hawaii Island showed greater than 90% o...
The slug itself is the vector that releases the parasite into the digestive track. The tiniest slug ...
Vector Control Kits
We have available supplies and tools, methods and how-to instructions, so that every 'ohana can part...
The more you learn, the more you can share. Become an educator and teach your friends, 'ohana, and n
A goal of the East Maui Rat Lungworm Task Force is to work in cooperation with Hawai'i Department of...


Vector Kits Distributed
Neighborhoods and Villages Visited
Confirmed Cases of infection
Estimated Slugs & Rats Killed


A note from the Doctor

Latest blogs

The 6th International Workshop on Angiostrongylus and Angiostrongyliasis
August 5, 2019
January 5-8, 2020 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel in Hilo, Hawaiʻi View event website for more information
Evaluation of Non-Chemical Deterrents to Repel Slugs
June 20, 2019
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at University of Hawaii has published a study on non-chemical slug repellant methods.
Hawaii warns tourists of parasitic worm that can burrow into human brains
May 31, 2019
Hawaii warns tourists of parasitic worm that can burrow into human brainsHawaii’s health department has released fresh warnings about a parasitic worm that
Second Case Of Rat Lungworm Disease Of 2019 Confirmed
March 30, 2019
Big Island Video News: (BIVN) – The second case of rat lungworm disease in the state of Hawaiʻi in 2019 has been confirmed in a resident of North Hawai

Contact Us

  • Please keep in touch

  • Address: P.O.Box 645 Hana, HI 96713
  • Phone: (808) 281-2021
  • Email: coordinator@EastMauiRLW.com
  • Website: https://eastmauirlw.com