Rat lungworm disease is infecting more than humans. New research shows evidence of other infected hosts, including centipedes, cane toads and invasive coqui frogs.

Rat lungworm is an incurable parasitic disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. In 2018, 10 people contracted the disease in Hawaii. So far this year there are six more confirmed human cases.

Most humans contract the disease by consuming unwashed produce infected by a slug.

But animals are falling ill, too. Researchers on the Big Island recently confirmed the presence of the disease in 87% of invasive coqui frogs studied in Hilo, as well as four greenhouse frogs and two cane toads. Three centipedes were also found to be infected.

Cats, dogs and horses have also have also contracted the disease, displaying severe neurological systems usually within days of eating a slug.

Read the research here.

Not a subscription

Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.

About the Author