Just recently Rat Lungworm has been in the news because of young man in Australia that recently died after contracting the disease. People just like you have been asking lots of questions. Well as pest control experts we thought we would take a few minutes to answer some of the most popular questions and most important, how to prevent rat lungworm disease in the first place.
- What is Rat Lungworm Disease?
- Can I get Rat Lungworm Disease in Southwest Florida?
- How to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease
What is Rat Lungworm Disease?
For those of you that like the scientific name, rat lungworm disease is known as Angiostrongyliasis. This parasite can be contracted by both animals and humans. When the person or animal is infected, the parasite affects the brain and spinal cord. Fortunately for humans, the parasite doesn’t reach full maturity as it does in only rodents.
In rats an other rodents, when infected, the parasite lives in the brain of the animal and will eventually reproduce. During this stage the rodents will pass the lavae of the worm out through their feces.This is the stage where snails, slugs and even frogs can pick up the lavae and can inadvertently spread this in the environment. This life cycle is explained in the attached image provided by the CDC. If you want to read more about rat lungworm disease there is more information on the Centers of Disease Control website.
Can I get Rat Lungworm Disease in Southwest Florida?
First, please note that according to the CDC this disease is rarely fatal in humans. Since the disease has been found throughout Florida you should know some facts about how rat lungworm disease can be contracted. It is not spread by person-to-person contact. Research suggests most of time the larvae is found in snails and slugs and especially in warmer climates like here in Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. There is no reason to panic, as this parasite has been around for thousands of years. Most of us wont eat raw snails and slugs so we don’t need to worry about that.
However, if you have a garden, it’s a good practice to wash your hands after working in the garden and washing off produce just to make sure there isn’t a small snail or slug that hitches a ride. If you have kids, its a good idea to not lets them drink water from a garden hose since we never know what might have crawled up the hose! Most people if they actually came in contact with the larvae would never know they had been infected as most healthy people show no symptoms. Your body will use its immune system to kill off the parasite. As mentioned before, it will not reproduce in humans or even mature. Everyone knows their own body, so if you ever have unusual headaches or not feeling well in general, you should always visit your doctor. More than likely you don’t have rat lungworm, but its a good idea to see what is causing your symptoms.
How to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease
So did you skip right to this section? We don’t blame you. Protecting your family and pets is always a priority. More than likely that is why are are here. Lawn Care Extraordinaire has been helping to protect families in our service area in Southwest Florida since 1979. We can help protect your family by keeping rodents from your house. We have bait and traps and will also give you practical suggestions to keep them from becoming a pest. Give us a call or complete our online request and we will visit your house and give you a free estimate after one of our experts inspects your property. As Benjamin Franklin once said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We look forward to working to protect your yard, house and family!