Rat Lungworm Disease Research and Education Outreach Funding

An article shared by the Hawaii Senate Majority on Facebook, echoes Senator Ruderman’s concerns for Darlene Turner and other patients of the disease.

For research and education outreach funding, Senator Ruderman submitted bills for the Jarvi Lab in 2015 and 2016, but both were denied. “In 2017, Sen. Kai Kahele submitted the bill for funding $1.4 million to be spread over two years for us.

The bill passed both Senate and House Committees unanimously and unopposed with very strong testimony support, however the bill was killed in the last hours of the 2017 Legislative Session,” Howe said.

Jarvi, Howe and Turner submitted testimony for the bills. “We attempted a third time to obtain state funding and were again unsuccessful. In the final week of the session, Ways and Means Chair Senator Jill Tokuda gave $1 million to the Hawaii State DOH,” Howe said. “The research and education being done in the UH-Hilo Jarvi Lab is not only beneficial to Hawaii, but also to the mainland and other countries impacted by rat lungworm disease.”

“The state needs to realize we could lead the nation in research, and to get over the fear of telling tourists,” she said. “Ignoring this problem that started to be evident back in 2005-2007 has led to the spread of the parasite and its hosts. Now it will be a much bigger problem. This disease is debilitating if you have a serious case. We have had deaths and permanent disability from rat lungworm disease on Hawaii Island over the past 10-15 years and nothing was done.” – Kay Howe

From Wikipedia:
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) that causes angiostrongyliasis, the most common cause of eosinophilic meningitis in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin.[2] The nematode commonly resides in the pulmonary arteries of rats, giving it the common name rat lungworm. Snails are the primary intermediate hosts, where larvae develop until they are infective.

Humans are incidental hosts of this roundworm, and may become infected through ingestion of larvae in raw or undercooked snails or other vectors, or from contaminated water and vegetables. The larvae are then transported via the blood to the central nervous system, where they are the most common cause of eosinophilic meningitis, a serious condition that can lead to death or permanent brain and nerve damage.[3] Angiostrongyliasis is an infection of increasing public health importance as globalization contributes to the geographic spread of the disease. Learn More

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