Maui, which is Hawaii’s second-largest island, has seen only two cases of the disease -- known to the medical community as Angiostrongylus -- in the past decade.
If you are experiencing some or all of these signs and symptoms, experts recommend reaching out to your doctor right away. This way you can get diagnosed and receive treatment for the disease before it progresses to a life-threatening state.
Dr. Mina says cases are on the rise during Hurricane season. That's when snails are more likely to be on lawns where dogs go to potty.
A pulmonary functions test (PFT) involve a series of breathing tests that measure how much air a person can blow out of their lungs, as well as the volume of gas in the lungs. A PFT helps doctors to determine if a person’s lung function is below normal.
Doctors may order blood tests to measure markers of inflammation in the body, including sedimentation rate and C-reactive proteins.
"On our walks, I keep an eye on him and make sure that he doesn't get something in his mouth that's not supposed to belong there,” Natusch said.
Over a 10-year period in Hawaii, health officials identified 82 cases of rat lungworm disease, two of which were fatal, according to findings published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
There is no concrete diagnosis available for rat lungworm. Based on the symptoms of the patient and travel history and what they have consumed recently diagnosis is made.
Additionally, issues affecting the lungs can change over time. Further lung complications can develop and become increasingly severe.
With Susan Jarvi, of the University of Hawaii, she formed the Hawaii Island Rat Lungworm Working Group.
Jarvi agrees the spread of the disease is most likely due to semi-slugs, but she believes there may also be another factor.
Because the symptoms of NTM infection are similar to other lung diseases, getting a correct diagnosis is often delayed for months or even years. This can be frustrating for patients and lead to a worsening of the infection and progressive lung damage.
Experts are warning about the wealthy and the well-connected exploiting their position to get early access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
You should see your health care provider, who will examine you and ask about any symptoms, travel, and exposures you've had (for example, to snails/slugs). You might have some blood tests, as well as tests for meningitis.
You should consider asking your doctor about NTM if you are living with a chronic lung disease such as bronchiectasis or COPD, and your symptoms are getting worse or your treatment is not working as well as it used to. You should also talk to your doctor about the possibility that you might have NTM lung disease if you are otherwise healthy and develop a cough and fatigue that won’t go away.
Other general symptoms that may help distinguish NTM from other lung diseases are a deep fatigue, low grade fever, night sweats and unexplained loss of appetite and weight. You may also experience shortness of breath, chest pain and recurring respiratory infections despite taking medication to treat them.
Preventive treatment with a prescription medication (albendazole) may be considered in cases where there has been a witnessed ingestion of any part of a snail or slug within the last 7 days. Discuss this with your general practitioner who will refer to local health department guidelines.
A CT scan of the lungs produces cross-sectional images, which allows the doctor to view the lungs and determine whether there is any scarring. CT scans are often more helpful than X-rays when diagnosing rheumatoid lung disease.
However, the infection can sometimes cause severe meningitis that requires specialist treatment. The infection is occasionally fatal.