From Hawaii Tribune-Herald: New research released Monday shows that almost 94 percent of rats in the Hilo region are infested with Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the parasitic nematode that causes rat lungworm disease in humans. The study, the largest of its type conducted in Hawaii, sheds light on how common the disease is in rats, said lead author Sue Jarvi, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
From MauiNow.com The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health recently launched a statewide broadcast media campaign to educate residents and visitors about rat lungworm disease, a potentially devastating illness that can have debilitating effects on an infected person’s brain and spinal cord.
Honolulu Civil Beat has an article on efforts to treat RLW, with this important information about diagnosis via lumbar puncture (aka spinal taps): For example, lumbar punctures, commonly known as spinal taps, have been misrepresented as an invasive, painful procedure. Information obtained from a lumbar puncture provides priceless information that helps physicians make very important decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment of patients. In fact, it is a common, very safe procedure that is typically a critical part of the work up for rat lungworm disease. Local anesthetic makes it relatively painless and, as an added benefit, a spinal tap will usually dramatically relieve the headaches, which typically accompany an infection.
The East Maui RLW Task Force will have an activity table at the 9th Annual Hana Limu Festival this Saturday, Nov. 18 at Hana Bay Beach Park from 10-3. We'll have a "slug picking" activity for kids (picking up as many ceramic slugs with chopsticks in one minute), and will be giving away vector control kits. Stop by and talk story, update on the latest information, and continue spreading the awareness about how to protect our families.
The following update was submitted to the Hanaside News for publication in the upcoming issue: Rat Lungworm UpdateSince rat lungworm (RLW) disease cases in East Maui made the news last April, and the Department of Health scheduled a well-attended community meeting, our residents have become much more aware of the risks of this disease, and the necessary steps to prevent it. A diagnosis of rat lungworm infection can only be confirmed after examination of spinal fluid obtained by spinal tap (aka lumbar puncture or LP). Although the name "spinal tap" causes fear, the procedure is safe and relatively pain free if performed by an experienced physician (local lidocaine anesthesia provides numbness and the procedure is often described as less painful than taking a typical office blood sample). In addition, it…
We'll be doing another round of farm visits to provide RLW info and vector control supplies on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14-15. Thursday we'll be in the Nahiku area, and Friday in Kaeleku/Wakiu. Along with Mikala and Scott from the HFUU-Hana Chapter, we'll be joined again by John Frostad from the Dept of Ag Plant Quarantine Division. If anyone is interested in joining the team to learn about RLW vector control, of if you have a farm in these areas and would like a visit, please let us know!
From the Hawaii-Tribune Herald: One of the most challenging aspects of rat lungworm disease is the lack of a standardized treatment protocol. But that might have changed. “We think we found a good recipe for helping these patients recover,” said Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Cabatu. Dr. Jon Martell, the hospital’s medical director, described to the Tribune-Herald what might become known as the East Hawaii protocol for treatment of rat lungworm. Any patient whose symptoms are severe enough to visit the emergency room, Martell said, needs high-dose intravenous steroids to reduce inflammation. After two days of steroid treatment, deworming medication called albendazole should be used. Read the rest...
The East Maui RLW Taskforce will be meeting on Thursday, August 17 at 5:00 at the Council Services Hana Office. We'll give an update on RLW response efforts and discuss priorities for the community moving forward. Community members are welcome to attend. Members of the state RLW working group and the point person for RLW response for the Department of Agriculture on Maui will also be present or calling in.