U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Niebuhr CN, Siers SR, Leinbach IL, Kaluna LM, Jarvi SI (2021). Variation in Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in definitive and intermediate hosts in Hawaii, a global hotspot of rat lungworm disease. Parasitology 148, 133–142.

https:// doi.org/10.1017/S003118202000164X


© The Author(s), 2020. This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Published by Cambridge University Press.


Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm) is a tropical and subtropical parasitic nematode, with infections in humans causing angiostrongyliasis (rat lungworm disease), characterized by eosinophilic meningitis. Hawaii has been identified as a global hotspot of infection, with recent reports of high infection rates in humans, as well as rat definitive and snail intermediate hosts. This study investigated variation in A. cantonensis infection, both prevalence and intensity, in wild populations of two species of rats (Rattus exulans and R. rattus) and one species of snail (Parmarion martensi). An overall infection prevalence of 86.2% was observed in P. martensi and 63.8% in rats, with R. exulans (77.4%) greater than R. rattus (47.6%). We found infections to vary with environmental and host-related factors. Body mass was a strong predictor of infection in all three species, with different patterns seen between sexes and species of rats. Infection prevalence and intensity for R. exulans were high in May 2018 and again in February 2019, but generally lower and more variable during the intervening months. Information on sources of variability of infection in wild host populations will be a crucial component in predicting the effectiveness of future disease surveillance or targeted management strategies.