Florida Scientists Advise You To Steer Clear Of Snails

June 30, 2017

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A warning for everyone not to touch snails or slugs with their bare hands because of an increased risk of coming into contact with a rare parasitic infection known as rat lungworm. Unheard outside of subtropical Asia twenty years ago, scientists at the University of Florida’s UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the Florida Museum of Natural History say traces of the parasite have been found in Alachua county, as well as 5 other counties and in four other states.  Although there are no human deaths from the rat lungworm, the parasite can be dangerous if you consume snails or animals that eat snails such as frogs or crustaceans.  The parasite can cause a form of meningitis and severe infections can lead to a coma or death. In adults, signs of infection include headaches, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, nausea, and paralysis of the face and limbs. Infected children exhibit nausea, vomiting and fever. To make things worse, the CDC says there is no treatment for an infection.  So the best protection is prevention.  The report advises people to wash produce thoroughly as snails can sometimes hide inside as well as washing hands thoroughly if you come in contact with a snail.


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