Study: Parasite Infecting Florida Snails Poses Health Danger

Giant African Land Snail
Posted at 4:44 AM, Feb 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-27 04:44:00-05

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A new study has found that a rare parasite found in snails and rats that can cause serious health problems in humans and animals is more pervasive in South Florida than previously thought.

University of Florida scientists say the "rat lungworm" has been found in multiple species of snails in the Miami area, including the invasive giant African snail.

The scientists, who published their results in the "Journal of Parasitology," made the discovery while investigating the death of an orangutan that died after eating snails and falling ill. It was the second primate to die from ingesting infected snails in Florida since 2004.

The parasite is already a public health issue in Hawaii and throughout Asia, and has been found previously in Louisiana and Florida.