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Rat Lungworm Meeting Planned on Moloka‘i, May 30

May 18, 2017, 9:09 AM HST (Updated May 18, 2017, 9:12 AM) · 0 Comments
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PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health, Maui District Health Office, will host a public informational meeting on rat lungworm disease later this month on Moloka‘i. Public health experts will share recommendations on prevention.

So far, the Department of Health has confirmed 15 cases of the illness in Hawai‘i this year, including nine from Hawai‘i Island, four Maui residents and two visitors to Maui.

The disease is caused by a parasite found in rats, slugs and snails, and occurs in humans who ingest raw or under-cooked snails or slugs, or unwashed raw produce.

The Moloka‘i meeting takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center.

A number of public health experts and community partners will be present to share their findings and recommendations on preventing the spread of rat lungworm, including Lorrin W. Pang, M.D., Maui District Health Officer; Sara Routley, Health Educator; Alton Arakaki from the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; Harmonee Williams of Sustʻaina-ble Molokaʻi; and Lori Buchanan from the Nature Conversancy of Hawai‘i.

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DOH has launched a number of initiatives to address rat lungworm. Together with partner agencies, community meetings have been held across Maui to educate the public on rat lungworm and to share best practices on the prevention of this disease, including the proper care and washing of produce, as well as rodent and slug control.

DOH food safety inspectors have also worked with permitted food establishments on hygiene and food preparation, and medical advisories were sent to physicians and hospitals to increase awareness of the disease. DOH is planning future public information efforts to educate residents and visitors about rat lungworm.

The informational meeting on Moloka‘i is also supported by Rosie Davis from Huli Au Ola Area Health Education Center; Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and staff; Luana Alcon from the Maui County Parks & Recreation-Moloka‘i District; Margaret Makekau and DOH staff-Moloka‘i Office; State Senator J. Kalani English; and State Representative Lynn DeCoite.

For information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org/ratlungworm.

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