Rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, detected in rats in Valencia: First time in continental Europe


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Researchers at the University of Valencia on the southeastern coast of Spain discovered the parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, It is also known as rat lungworm in two different species of mice in the city of Valencia.

“It is an emerging parasite that is expanding and it must be taken into account,” he said. Maria Teresa Galán explains, Professor of the Parasitology and Health Group at the University of Valencia and leader of the research that recently discovered a parasite in two different species of mice in the city of Valencia. Specifically, the worm was identified in both sewage mice ( Norway rat ), which is a common animal in urban environments, and in the black rat ( Ratus Ratus), more frequent in rural areas. After studying 90 samples of both species, the researchers found the parasite in 9% of them, both in animals trapped in the city and in specimens in orchard areas, indicating a “widespread spread,” they noted. in the journal Emerging infectious diseases .

This is the first known find in mainland Europe.

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Rats are the definitive host for the parasite. And we believe that the entry of the parasite occurs along with its natural hosts, which have managed to spread around the world through sea traffic, on ships,” Galan explains. The parasite is endemic to southern Asia and the Pacific Rim, although it has been detected in other regions, such as the Caribbean, India, South America, the southern United States or some pockets of the African continent.

Its ability to expand shows that thousand cantonensis It is a parasite with great opportunistic ability, and never misses an opportunity to take advantage of various creatures.

In order to develop and complete its cycle, the parasite needs, in addition to mice, the intervention of other species, such as snails and slugs, which act as intermediaries and allow it to mature and change its stages.

What is rat worm?

Angioworm is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a parasitic nematode (a roundworm parasite) called Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

adult form A. cantonensis It is only found in rodents. However, infected rodents can pass the worm larvae in their feces. Snails, slugs, and some other animals (including freshwater shrimp, crabs, and frogs) can become infected by eating these larvae; These are intermediate hosts. Humans can get infected A. cantonensis If they eat (intentionally or otherwise) an infected intermediate host raw or undercooked, thus ingesting the parasite.

People can sometimes become infected by eating raw products that contain infected small snails or slugs, or part of them. It is not known for certain if the slime left by infected snails and slugs can cause infection. Vasodilators do not spread from person to person.

Symptoms of dilated blood vessels may include severe headache, neck and back stiffness, tingling of the skin, pain and sensitivity, sensitivity to light, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes coma and death.

There is no specific medicine or treatment for the infection.

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