Worm that jumps from rats to slugs to human brains has invaded Southeast US

Adult female worm of <em>Angiostrongylus cantonensis</em> recovered from rat lungs with characteristic barber-pole appearance (anterior end of worm is to the top). Scale bar = 1 mm.

Grownup feminine worm of Angiostrongylus cantonensis recovered from rat lungs with attribute barber-pole look (anterior finish of worm is to the highest). Scale bar = 1 mm. (credit score: Lindo et al.)

The dreaded rat lungworm—a parasite with a penchant for rats and slugs that often finds itself rambling and writhing in human brains—has firmly established itself within the Southeast US and can doubtless proceed its fast invasion, a research revealed this week suggests.

The research concerned small-scale surveillance of lifeless rats within the Atlanta zoo. Between 2019 and 2022, researchers frequently turned up proof of the worm. In all, the research recognized seven out of 33 collected rats (21 %) with proof of a rat lungworm an infection. The contaminated animals had been unfold all through the research’s timeframe, all in numerous months, with one in 2019, three in 2021, and three in 2022, indicating sustained transmission.

Though small, the research “means that the zoonotic parasite was launched to and has grow to be established in a brand new space of the southeastern United States,” the research’s authors, led by researchers on the College of Georgia Faculty of Veterinary Drugs, concluded. The research was revealed Wednesday within the journal Rising Infectious Illnesses.

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