Honeymooners Become Latest Victim of Hawaii's Brain-Infesting Disease
A rat lungworm disease has turned a couple's honeymoon in Hawaii to a nightmare.
Newlyweds Ben Manilla, 64, and Eliza Lape, 57, traveled to Hana, Hawaii last January to celebrate their marriage. However, instead of collecting sweet memories, they collected a strain of a bacteria that resulted to hospital arrest for the both of them.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasitic nematode that gives rise to rat lungworm disease. Although they are only found in rodents, people can get infected too by eating undercooked meat or fresh salad and seafood such as snails that accidentally ingest the larvae of the parasite from the rodent's feces. People who are infested by this parasite suffer from severe headache.
"My symptoms started growing to feeling like somebody was taking a hot knife and just stabbing me in different parts of my body," Lape recalled as she spoke to Hawaii News Now.
On the other hand, his husband has had operations, two pneumonias, a blood clot and kidney issues.
The couple is unsure how they encountered the disease while in Hawaii.
As per the report of Associated Press, the Hawaii State Department of Health has confirmed six cases of rat lungworm disease on the island of Maui and three cases on the Big Island over the past three months. The numbers are only based on information gathered from hospitals.
Meanwhile, CNN noted that the same disease might have already reached other US states, citing that just last year, two toddlers in Texas became infected.
"The increasing number of reports may be from geographic expansion of the parasite or increased awareness and education. It is probably a combination of both," Heather Stockdale Walden, an assistant professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at the University of Floridam wrote in an email to CNN. "It has historically been a subtropical parasite, so it is alarming that it is being found in more temperate climates."