Natalie Allison Nashville Tennessean
Published 4:17 p.m. UTC Aug 3, 2018
Tennessee is among eight states where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have detected cases of rat lungworm infection.
The infection, associated with central nervous system disease, resides in the lungs of wild rodents and is passed in feces and ingested by snails and slugs.
In the United States, the infection was detected in 16 people between 2011 and 2013, and confirmed in 12. It wasn’t immediately clear where the confirmed cases originated.
In addition to Tennessee, specimens in which the infection was detected came from California, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Alabama and New York.
In the case of the one positive specimen submitted to the CDC from Tennessee, the individual had no history of travel outside the United States.
Humans typically are infected when snails and slugs carrying the infection are inadvertently ingested.
Though human infection often involves no symptoms, it can spread to the brain and cause meningitis, neurologic deficits, coma and death. Most human cases occur in Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.
At least six of the patients reported consuming raw vegetables, two had eaten raw snails, two had eaten prawns, and one ate cooked crab. For two others, “family members reported the presence of snails in the environment,” according to the CDC report.
It was unclear what the patient from Tennessee had consumed.
Reach Natalie Allison at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.
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