Latest News from BPCA

16 May 2017

Brain-Invading Parasite Spreads Through Climate Change

Health officials in Hawaii have been warning residents not to touch snails or slugs with their bare hands because of an increase in cases of a rare parasitic infection known as rat lungworm. Experts are blaming its sudden spread across the United States on climate change and globalisation.

Brain invading parasite spread through slugsIn the last two decades, there have only been two documented cases of rat lungworm infections in Hawaii. But in the past three months, six more cases have occurred in rapid succession, with more across other states. Believed to have spread to the U.S. by way of rats in cargo ships, rat lungworm is a parasitic nematode (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) that begins its life as an infection in rat’s lungs, blood, and brains. From there, the rats defecate worm larvae that are spread to other creatures like snails, slugs, and freshwater shrimp. Humans might eat one of these infected hosts or food contaminated by one. Once rat lungworm disease moves into the brain it can cause meningitis and its symptoms include tremors, pain, and inflammation; it is often fatal. The severity of the disease can vary wildly, there’s no known treatment, and it’s notoriously difficult to diagnose.

Locals say that they’ve become increasingly paranoid about eating produce and they line their yards with slug bait. And for an area that thrives on tourism, paranoia about eating the local food can be an economic nightmare. A 2004 World Health Organisation report warned that “most new infections seem to be caused by pathogens already present in the environment, which have been brought out of obscurity, or given a selective advantage, by changing ecological or social conditions.”

While this particular pest isn’t currently a concern in the UK, it shows that climate change plus globalisation are likely to increase the importance of public health pest control in years to come.


Dee-ward-thompson-Staff-bubbleDee Ward-Thompson
Technical Manager

5 May 2017  |  PPC87

Source: PPC87

Highlights View all news

02 July 2020

Latest news

Engaging with pest control clients post-Covid-19

You would have to be living in a cave for the last four months not to know that we are living in strange times. Chris Cagienard, director and field biologist for BPCA member company Pest Solutions,

Read more

01 July 2020

Latest news

Look forward to PestEx 2021 - registration now open

After a challenging year for pest management, BPCA is pleased to announce registration for PestEx 2021 is now open. With the London ExCeL confirming that they intend to be running fu

Read more

30 June 2020

Latest news

Open letter to Natural England: Individual licences for gull control in England, this year and beyond

Today, BPCA has written to Dave Slater, the Director for wildlife licensing at Natural England regarding the future of individual licences for gull control.  The letter expresse

Read more
Latest View all news

09 July 2020

Latest news

New Treatment Report template for BPCA members

A new Treatment Report template, for BPCA members and their employees to use, has been uploaded to the Member Documents Area and the BPCA PrintShop (login required). A

Read more

09 July 2020

Latest news

UPDATED: Furloughing pest management workers and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

Furlough is the HR word of the moment, and it’s causing some confusion among employers and employees alike. What is it and how does it work? NOTE: IMPORTANT DATES It’s imp

Read more

08 July 2020

Latest news

Warning to pest controllers after van containing pesticides stolen

Following the theft of highly toxic aluminium phosphide-based chemicals from a van in Manchester, BPCA urges technicians to be careful about leaving pesticides unattended in vehicles. 

Read more