Rat Lungworm Disease Signs and Symptoms

rat lungworm

Rat lungworm also known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a roundworm parasite that is spreading around the world and is one of the most common cause of inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord commonly known as meningitis, which is a very serious condition. Snails play an important role in the life-cycle of rat lungworm as it carries the larvae until it’s matured and ready to infect it’s next host.

Angiostrongylus Cantonensis Hosts

Mostly snails, rodents and some birds are the primary hosts of rat lungworm disease and humans are not it’s common host but can be infected through accidentally ingesting the infectious larvae through food or contaminated water. Once inside it’s host, the larvae with the help of it’s hosts blood travels to the central nervous system thus meningitis occurs causing severe damage and even death of the infected host. Infected person can not infect other people.

Life-cycle of Angiostrongylus cantonensis

rat lungworm
Life cycle of Angiostrongylus cantonensis

When a rat consumes the infected snail/mollusc the nematode comes out with in the stomach of the host rat. Than the Angiostrongylus cantonensis 3rd stage larvae makes its way to the small intestine and burrows into the wall to enter into the blood stream of the infected rat. From blood it moves to the kidney’s and lungs and within the next 24 hours it is carried out to the spinal cord and the brain through out the process most of the larvae are lost due to the immune system of the infected host. Once the larvae reaches the brain and spinal cord undetected it is there when their feeding frenzy begins.

Angiostrongylus cantonensis Signs and Symptoms

Following are the symptoms of Angiostrongylus cantonensis:

Stiff neck

Severe headache

Tingling in the skin