What is Rat lungworm Infection and is it really serious?

It is called “Rat lungworm” because a parasite that is known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis migrate from the rat’s gut to their lungs. Rats ingest the Angiostrongylus larvae then transferred to there lungs. The larvae then, will mature into adult worms laying 15,000 eggs per day! The eggs hatch in the rat and become juvenile larvae, which are passed out into the environment through the rat’s feces. Typically, slugs and snails get infested by the juvenile larvae. The feces may also be picked up by frogs, freshwater prawns, some lizards and land crabs.

With slugs and snails being infested by the parasite, they can contaminate the vegetables in your garden and also water which can be used to irrigate crops. Humans can get the parasite by eating/drinking contaminated salads and water. Undercooked prawns,  land crabs and snails too.

What are the symptoms of rat lungworm?

The table below shows the symptoms and their relative frequencies:

No. Symptoms Relative frequency
1 Headache 100%
2 Photophobia

-sensitivity or discomfort to the eyes when exposed to light

3 Neck stiffness and fatigue 83%
4 Hyperesthesia

-unusual sensibility to pain or touch

5 Vomiting 67%
6 Paresthesias

-an unusual sensation in the skin such as tingling, tickling, pricking, numbness or burning without an external source


Source: news-medical.net

How can to prevent rat lungworm?

The best way to avoid getting infected by the parasite is prevention. When you buy produce products such as vegetables, make sure to wash them thoroughly. Do not undercook frogs, shrimp, and crabs. And of course, rat control is a key preventive measure in treating this problem. So contact your local pest expert for an assessment!