Eosinophilic meningitis attributable to Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in Hawaii: clinical characteristics and potential exposures.Am J Trop Med Hyg 2011; 85(4):685-90AJ
The most common infectious cause of eosinophilic meningitis is Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which is transmitted largely by consumption of snails/slugs. We previously identified cases of angiostrongyliasis that occurred in Hawaii from 2001 to 2005; the highest incidence was on the island of Hawaii. We now report symptoms, laboratory parameters, and exposures. Eighteen patients were evaluated; 94% had headache, and 65% had sensory symptoms (paresthesia, hyperesthesia, and/or numbness). These symptoms lasted a median of 17 and 55 days, respectively. Three persons recalled finding a slug in their food/drink. Case-patients on the island of Hawaii were more likely than case-patients on other islands to consume raw homegrown produce in a typical week (89% versus 0%, P < 0.001) and to see snails/slugs on produce (56% versus 0%, P = 0.03). Residents and travelers should be aware of the potential risks of eating uncooked produce in Hawaii, especially if it is from the island of Hawaii and locally grown.