Brigette Namata – April 10, 2017
Researchers are calling it an epidemic: a big spike in the number of people infected with rat lungworm disease in Hawaii.
The Department of Health says so far there are nine confirmed cases of the disease. Four are Maui residents, two are visitors who contracted it on Maui, and three live on Hawaii Island.
State officials are also looking into three possible cases on Maui, and one on Hawaii Island.
The Department of Health adds 11 cases were confirmed on Hawaii Island in 2016.
The disease starts out as a parasitic worm that invades the human brain. The worm is carried by rats, then spread through snails or slugs that crawl onto fruits or vegetables.