Climate change is affecting our planet in a whole bunch of strange ways. One of the most recent and strangest examples is that of a brain parasite that is on the rise. Probably due to — yup, you guessed it — global warming. (Globalization may also play a part in the parasite spread, so this is just covering SEVERAL hot button issues.)
So here’s what you need to know about the parasite rat lungworm.
(Which, by the way, is EXACTLY as disgusting as it sounds.)
The parasitic roundworm starts in a rat’s body, and then, via defecation, spreads to creatures like slugs, snails, and freshwater shrimp. From there, the parasite can spread to people, where it can cause meningitis AKA inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. Contracting rat lungworm is a fatal diagnosis for many people.
So, to recap, the lungworm comes from rat poop.
Which often gets passed along via a slimy slug, and then after a ton of pain and tremors, there’s a likely chance you will die. Move over Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, we think we’ve found the the world’s new, most upsetting horror movie monster.
Hawaii’s been seeing a major uptick in parasite cases.
For context, in the last two decades, there were only two cases of rat lungworm in the Aloha State. But in the past three months, six new cases have popped up. Ugh, that’s not good at all.
Residents of Hawaii have been warned about touching slugs and snails with their bare hands. This seems avoidable enough. But, complicating matters, slugs are often used as bait for fishing in Hawaii. Excising slugs from fishing could detrimentally effect the state, particularly it’s tourism, which it depends heavily on.
And it’s not just Hawaii that has to worry.
The disease has popped up in 30 countries and several U.S. states, including California, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Oklahoma.
You know, just another thing to keep you up late at night freaking out. As if you didn’t already have thirty nightmare scenarios playing in your head at three in the morning. We are absolutely scared of this parasite, but we’re scared of so much these days we just constantly feel like characters in Wes Craven movies.
2017, you are a real piece of work.