skip to Main Content

Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have released a video of interviews with rat lungworm disease survivors.

Susan Jarvi, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy who specializes in rat lungworm disease research, Kay Howe, a graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program also doing rat lungworm disease research, along with Mark Kimura, affiliate faculty member of the geography department, worked on the 54-minute film.

“Kay and I visited four households with total of six people who have been affected by rat lungworm disease,” says Kimura. “Kay’s son got the disease several years ago and is still trying to recover. We wanted to convey (survivor’s) voices to the community, promote awareness and get enough funding for education and research in order to stop this horrible disease in Hawaiʻi.”

For more rat lungworm disease research and educational activity on Hawaiʻ Island, go to the UH Hilo Stories website.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. I just came back from 6 months on Kauai to Maui where my friends husband died a sudden death and both he and my friend were in the hospital with sepsis from an unknown source. He had rotator cuff issues that started at the same time. She is a master gardener with
    with the ag dept of UH. I just sent her this article as she recently moved back to PA. I told her a year ago that it had to be something in the environment as they were in the upper wet Kappa area and to get the dept of health out.
    She needs to get that assay for the antibody to see if she has it with all her health problems.
    So please send this article to all your master gardeners at UH and
    they can get it out to people they know that garden. I am starting ADN nursing at Maui and I will do my part to bring awareness to the
    nursing students and there circle of influence.
    Where is the petition?

  2. My mother was infected with rat lungworm disease on Hawaiʻi Island more than a decade ago, and she was interviewed in this film. Our lives have been profoundly affected by this tragic event of her eating a home-grown salad. I am very proud of her for telling her story. Why do more people not know about this horrible disease outside of Puna? People are unknowingly growing their own salads throughout Mānoa and Palolo. Inadequate inspections of the powerful horticultural industry’s imports have lead to enormous colonies of slugs and snails in these valleys. Rat lungworm disease could happen to anybody in Hawaiʻi without the proper knowledge, especially those that grow their own food without taking the necessary precautions. I urge you not to let this happen to yourself or your family. Please learn about rat lungworm disease and spread awareness, as your state and local government are not doing enough to protect Hawaii’s people. Mahalo to the creators of this film, the interviewees, and those that took the time to watch and listen.

  3. Does anyone know how long the parasite can live in a person’s body? Or rather, how long symptoms can persist?
    A family member of mine in Big Island came down with similar symptoms about three years ago, and nothing has changed in those three years — tinglyness in the skin and extreme burning sensations are daily occurrences for her. She may have something else, but the doctors have no idea what she has, and I doubt they’ve looked into this.

    1. Hi Avalon,

      Please, please contact Rat Lungworm Working Group at and/or Kay Howe ( and ask your questions. In this video, somebody says the worms should be gone after 7 months or so, but the recovery process could last for years. And the symptoms could be severe or milder. But I’m just the one who made this film and not an expert in the disease, so please contact them directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top