Quantcast
Published On: Thu, May 9th, 2013

Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat lungworm risk

A Houston homeowner in west Houston spotted a big snail in her backyard garden and took a photo of it. She notified workers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who deal with invasive plants. They contacted researchers at Sam Houston State University who identified the creature as the Giant African Land Snail, according to a click2houston.com news report.

Giant African Land Snail  Image/Video Screen Shot

Giant African Land Snail
Image/Video Screen Shot

Now, researchers are sending out a serious warning advising the public not to touch the unusual snail.

The African snail is a species of large land snail that can grow up to eight inches long and can lay up to 100 eggs a month.
 
According to director of the institute for the Study of Invasive Species at Sam Houston State University, Dr. Autumn Smith-Herron PhD, “They also carry a parasitic disease that can cause a lot of harm to humans and sometimes even death. It causes meningitis.”

 

The parasite that Dr. Smith-Herron is alluding to is Angiostrongylus cantonensis, or the rat lungworm.

A. cantonensis is a parasitic infection in rats where the worm matures. Mollusks like snails and slugs pick up Angiostrongylus larvae by ingesting them in rat feces.

Infection is typically by accidentally or intentionally ingesting raw snails and slugs. Lettuce and other leafy vegetables may also be a source if contaminated by small mollusks. Eating raw or undercooked prawns and crabs that have ingested mollusks may also be a source of infection.

Many cases of rat lungworm are asymptomatic or showing just mild symptoms. However, rat lungworm can result in a very serious disease known as eosinophilic meningitis (since the spinal fluid may have a high percentage of eosinophils). The symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin, brain swelling, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting. Deaths have been reported.

Since the parasite dies over time because it can’t mature and complete its life cycle in humans, treatment is usually not necessary. Usually treatment of symptoms; headache medicine and steroids are all that is needed. Anti-parasitic drugs are generally ineffective against the rat lungworm.

The public is asked that if they do come into contact with the snail, thoroughly scrub and wash their hands. 

The USDA has launched an investigation into the sighting.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

Looking for a job in health care? Check here to see what’s available

 

Chagas in Black and White: T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise featuring the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi

Giardia in Black and White: T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise with a clean, computerized image of a Giardia intestinalis trophozoite

Blood flukes in Black and White : T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise with a clean, computerized image of the three schistosomes

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd ) [ALL INFO CONFIDENTIAL]

About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

Tags
Displaying 6 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Giant Snails' Health Risk Hype Matches Their Size – Discovery News | Living Biology says:

    […] Snail Spotted In TexasCBS 11USDA investigates giant snailsKPRC HoustonNew York Daily News -The Global Dispatch -The Atlantic Wireall 54 news […]

  2. Giant Snails' Health Risk Hype Matches Their Size – Discovery News | News Journal says:

    […] – Just FloridaEcorazziInvasive Giant African Land Snail Spotted In TexasCBS 11KPRC Houston -The Global Dispatch -New York Daily Newsall 54 news […]

  3. A case of mistaken identity: Big snail is beneficial, not bad – Houston Chronicle says:

    […] Not Invading Texas – Just FloridaEcorazziInvasive Giant African Land Snail Spotted In TexasCBS 11Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat …The Global DispatchKPRC Houston -Discovery News -New York Daily Newsall 54 news […]

  4. » A case of mistaken identity: Big snail is beneficial, not bad – Houston Chronicle says:

    […] in a Houston garden is beneficial, …Invasive Giant African Land Snail Spotted In TexasCBS 11Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat …The Global DispatchUSDA investigates giant snailsKPRC HoustonNew York Daily News -Discovery News […]

  5. » Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat … – The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat … – The Global Dispa… […]

  6. Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat … – The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Giant African Land Snail reportedly found in Houston, researcher warns of rat …The Global DispatchA Houston homeowner in west Houston spotted a big snail in her backyard garden and took a photo of it. She notified workers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who deal with invasive plants. They contacted researchers at Sam Houston State …Invasive Giant African Land Snail Spotted In TexasCBS 11USDA investigates giant snailsKPRC HoustonBack away from deadly snail , Houston neighborhood is toldHouston ChronicleDiscovery News -Examiner.com -New York Daily Newsall 52 news articles […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter



Categories

Archives

At the Movies

Pin It