What is Angiostrongylus Cantonensis?

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What is Angiostrongylus Cantonensis? Blog Image


A parasitic worm scientifically known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis, typically found in rats, has been spreading in southeastern America recently.

About Angiostrongylus Cantonensis

  • Angiostrongylus cantonensis, commonly known as the rat lungworm, is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) that infects rodents, particularly rats.
  • It is typically found in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.
  • While rats serve as the primary hosts for this parasitehumans and other animals, including snails and slugs, can become infected as incidental hosts.
  • Transmission: It is spread through rat faeces and can infect humans and other animals through produce or other food items.
  • Impact on Humans:
    • Once inside a human, the worm could cause a rare brain infection known as eosinophilic meningitis.
    • Symptoms can include headaches, still neck, tingling, fevers, vomiting, or painful feelings in the skin.
    • Most infections resolve spontaneously over time without specific treatment because the parasite cannot survive for long in the human body.
    • The worm can, in severe cases, cause coma or even death in humans, and can also infect pets.
  • Treatment:
    • There is currently no specific treatment for the parasite.
    • The most common types of treatment are for the symptoms of the infection, such as pain medication for headache or medications to reduce the body’s reaction to the parasite.


Q1) What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (the host) and derives its nourishment and other benefits from the host, often at the host's expense. Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship in which one organism (the parasite) benefits, while the other organism (the host) is harmed to some degree. Parasites come in various forms, including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms, and they can infect a wide range of hosts, including humans, animals, and plants.

Source: Dangerous rat-borne disease threatens southeastern US, warn scientists