An international scientific workshop to address concerns about the parasitic infection known as “rat lungworm disease” was held on 16-18 August at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The transdisciplinary workshop brought together an international group of scientists and clinicians from places as far apart as Brazil, Jamaica, China and Thailand. They shared a broad range of expertise and experience, ranging from parasitology, ecology and food safety, to disease epidemiology, medical diagnosis, and patient treatment. The goal of the meeting was to develop a concerted research agenda to address this disease at a global scale.
The disease appears to be a tropical disease but, with the increasing spread of invasive alien species, including rats, and slugs and snails, to all parts of the world, and with global warming increasing the potential latitudinal range of the parasite, it is seen as an important emerging infectious disease.
Workshop organizers included the University of Hawaii's Robert Cowie (Pacific Biosciences Research Center), and Jim Hollyer (College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources), as well as colleagues from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Hilo, Hawaii, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
The workshop was partially funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Award No. 2011-65213-20054.