Terrifying: Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii ‘Felt Like’ a Knifing

For a new wife on her honeymoon, it was as if 'somebody was just stabbing me' — confirmed cases are tied to Maui

by HealthZette Staff | Updated 20 Apr 2017 at 5:55 PM

A California couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii contracted a brain- and spine-infecting parasite.

Ben Manilla, 64, and Eliza Laupe, 57, got married in January, Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday. The newlyweds spent two weeks in Hana, but by the time they were set to return to San Francisco, Laupe was already feeling the effects from rat lungworm disease.

“My symptoms started growing to feeling like somebody was taking a hot knife and just stabbing me in different parts of my body,” she told Hawaii News Now.

Manila, a teacher at the University of California at Berkeley, spent a month in the hospital and is still undergoing rehabilitation.

“I’ve had several operations, two pneumonias, a blood clot. Right now, I’m dealing with a kidney issue, all of which was spurred by the ratlung,” he said.

The couple said they were unsure how they contracted the disease. They hope to warn others to take the proper precautions to avoid a similar harrowing ordeal. Since 2017, there have been six confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease with ties to Maui, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.

The disease affects the brain and spinal cord and is spread by a parasite that infects rats, which can pass larvae of the worm in their feces. Humans can acquire the dreaded disease by eating contaminated animals, including freshwater shrimp and land crabs.

Health officials in Hawaii are investigating at least four other possible cases.

This article originally appeared in Fox News and is used by permission.

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