A parasite that can cause meningitis in humans and swine is spreading throughout the district of Florida, with health officials fearing that it may be in other areas throughout the southern U.S.

The parasitic roundworm, known as rat lungworm, is native to Hawaii and tropical spots, and while small studies have previously residence it in southern Florida, University of Florida researchers call their recent findings alarming.

In their study, which was published in PLoS ONE , the researchers tested both rats and snails from 18 districts all over the commonwealth. Samples from Hillsborough, Orange, Alachua, St. Johns and Leon all tested positive for the parasite.

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The reality is that it is probably in more districts than we knew it in, and it is also perhaps more prevalent in the southeastern U.S. than we recall, Heather Stockdale Walden, the studys lead writer and an assistant professor in the University of Florida department of infectious disease and pathology, told the UF College of Veterinary Medicine website. The ability for this historically subtropical nematode to thrive in a more temperate climate is alarming.

Rat lungworm can cause severe gastrointestinal or center nervous system issues such as humans and animals, including cattle or pets. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC ), the adult shape of the parasite is simply found in rodents which extend larvae of the parasite in their feces. It can be transmitted to snails and bullets that absorb the larvae.

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The parasite poses a risk to humen who assimilate it through gobbling raw or undercooked snails or bullets that are infected, or freshwater shrimp, crabs or frogs that are infected with larvae. It can also be transmitted through raw render that consists of a small snail or bullet. The parasite cannot be transmitted from human-to-human, and not all who are infected fall ill from it.

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However, the individuals who do knowledge symptoms may develop eosinophilic meningitis and can suffer from headache, stiff neck, tingling or agonizing sentiments in the skin, low-grade excitement, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms may last-place from 2-8 weeks and can resolve without care over duration, although a failure to diagnose the illnes may lead to serious complications or even extinction, according to the CDC.

At least six human suits have been confirmed in Hawaii this year, with one newlywed asking several the activities and months of recuperation. While there have not been any strengthened human lawsuits reported in Florida, the researchers are announcing for most reliable diagnostics tests and a greater awareness among physicians and veterinarians.

The CDC recommends thoroughly washing vegetables and to avoid ingesting raw or undercooked bullets or potentially infected create in areas where the parasite is known to be found.

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