Published Date: 2012-05-27 00:46:01
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Angiostrongylus cantonensis - Australia (02): (NS), canine
Archive Number: 20120527.1146105
ANGIOSTRONGYLUS CANTONENSIS - AUSTRALIA (02): (NEW SOUTH WALES), CANINE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 25 May 2012
Source: Mosman- Daily [edited]
Dog owners beware: rat lungworm outbreak in Mosman
[Two brothers] are missed [by] their toy poodle Klaus during his hospital stay. Owners are being warned of a potential killer lurking in their backyard following an outbreak of rat lungworm [_angiostrongylus cantonensis_] in Mosman.
Two dogs have been treated for the rare parasitic disease that is spread through snails and slugs which have fed on rat droppings. Dogs pick up the parasite by eating an infected snail or slug.
Puppies are particularly at risk, with clinical signs including lethargy and increased sensitivity to pain. It can lead to paralysis and death.
[A] Mosman Vet owner said infected dogs can get very sick, very quickly. "It's important owners keep their pets away from snails and slugs and be aware of signs to look for in their pets," she said.
"The sooner we catch it, the better."
The family [of the affected dog] is grateful to have their toy poodle Klaus back home after a near-fatal battle with the parasite.
A very sick Klaus was sent to North Shore Veterinary Hospital for treatment after ingesting a slug. "He just wasn't himself and began shaking," [the owner] said. "In the beginning it was touch and go. It was very frightening."
Recent wet conditions could be responsible for an increase in the number of slugs in Mosman gardens.
The disease is also known to affect humans.
Last year, a 10-month-old Willoughby resident died after ingesting a slug.
*Keep dogs away from snails and slugs
*Use pet-friendly snail and slug control methods such as beer
*Don't delay getting to a vet if you suspect infection
[By Simone Roberts]
ProMED-mail from Health map alerts
[The rat lungworm, _Angiostrongylus cantonensis_, a nematode, can enter the human or animal when it ingests the slug harboring the lungworm. Snails or slugs feed on the feces of rats. Rats carry the lungworm in various stages of development. The form that passes out in the rat feces is then subject to ingestion by the slug or snail.
Once the infected slug/snail is ingested, the lungworm larvae make their way from the gut, to the blood stream to the brain in a little as 17 hours. It very often is a fatal condition in both humans and animals.
Slugs and snails can be clear and less than a centimeter long, making them hard to spot, but each one can carry thousands of worms.
The snails and slugs in Australia capable of harboring this parasite are often found in gardens and water tanks/troughs. It is generally the very small and immature slug on vegetables that are consumed either intentionally or accidentally . Cooking vegetables does not completely eradicate the risk, but it does lesson it. The slime trails left by the slugs/snails are less of a risk but consumption of the slime trail on food carries some risk. Thoroughly wash the vegetables prior to cooking or consuming. Thoroughly wash hands after gardening.
Pets are affected because they will play with the snail/slug and often consume it. Some animals are believed to have been infected by licking up the slime trail. Yet slime trails are much less risky.
The current weather condition in Australia is providing the correct conditions for the snails/slugs to proliferate and many may be infected with this nematode.
Naturally occurring, non-human infections were 1st recognized in dogs in Brisbane in 1972 and in Sydney in 1989 and 1991 (Collins et al 1992).
In the city of Brisbane, the 1st human infections probably occurred in 1959. From the 1970s, increasing numbers of autochthonous infections have been reported along the central east coast of the continent (southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales), involving humans, rats, dogs, horses, flying foxes and marsupials.
According to University of Hawaii snail researcher Rob Cowie, it is when people touch or eat raw snails or slugs or their "slime trails" that the threat to human health occurs.
--The spread of Angiostrongylus cantonensis in Australia. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2001;32 Suppl 2:126-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12041575
--Robert H. Cowie Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii Biology: taxonomy,identification, and life cycle of Angiostrongylus cantonensis.
--Rat Lung Worm Disease Scientific Workshop Honolulu, Hawaii August 16 - 18, 2011
Gutteridge BH, Bhaibulaya M, Findlater C. Human larval meningitis possibly following lettuce ingestion in Brisbane. Pathology 1972; 4: 63-64.
--Mason KV: Haematological and cerebrospinal fluid findings in canine neural angiostrongylosis. Australian Veterinary Journal 66:152-154, 1989
--Prociv P, Carlisle MS. The spread of Angiostrongylus cantonensis in Australia. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2001;32 Suppl 2:126-8.
--Sanjaya N Senanayake, Don S Pryor, John Walker and Pam Konecny MJA 2003; 179 (8): 430-431
--Yang F: Observation on the cats and a dog infected by Angiostrongylus cantonensis [Parastrongylus cantonensis]. Chinese Journal of Zoonoses 15, 1999
Portions of this comment were extracted from: http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/snail.html
Mosman, New South Wales, Australia may be found on the interactive HealthMap at: http://healthmap.org/r/2r*6 - Mod.TG]
[In the prior ProMED-mail posting on this topic in Mar 2012 (see Angiostrongylus cantonensis - Australia: (NS) canine 20120307.1063168) there was an alert about a possible increase in _angiostrongylus cantonensis_ activity in North Narrabeen, NSW, approximately 10.6 miles (17 kms) to the north of Mosman, suggesting that the NSW coast to the north of Sydney may be experiencing a general increase in activity this year. - Mod.MPP]