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Published on Dec 20, 2010
Angiostrongylus Cantonensis is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) that causes Angiostrongyliasis, the most common cause of Eosinophilic Meningitis in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin. The nematode commonly resides in the pulmonary arteries of rats, giving it the nickname the rat lungworm. Snails are the primary intermediate hosts, where larvae develop until they are infective. Humans are incidental hosts, and may become infected through ingestion of larvae in raw or undercooked snails or other vectors, or contaminated water and vegetables. The larvae are then transported via the blood to the central nervous system (CNS), where they are the most common cause of eosinophilic meningitis, a serious condition that can lead to death or permanent brain and nerve damage. Identified in 1964, Angiostrongyliasis is an infection of increasing public health importance as globalization aids in the geographic spread of the disease.