Rat lungworm infection in rodents across post-Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Rosalyn C. Rael, Anna C. Peterson, Bruno Ghersi-Chavez, Claudia Riegel, Amy E. Lesen, Michael J. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis), a parasitic nematode that can cause eosinophilic meningitis in humans, was first detected in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in the mid-1980s and now appears to be widespread in the southeastern United States. We assessed the distribution, prevalence, and intensity of A. cantonensis infection in New Orleans by examining lung biopsy samples of rodents trapped at 96 sites in 9 areas in Orleans Parish and 1 area in neighboring St. Bernard Parish during May 2015 through February 2017. These areas were selected to capture contrasting levels of income, flooding, and post-disaster landscape management after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We detected A. cantonensis in all areas and in 3 of the 4 rat species trapped. Overall prevalence was ≈38% but varied by area, host species, and host species co-occurrence. Infection intensity also varied by host species. These findings suggest that socioecological analysis of heterogeneity in definitive and intermediate host infection could improve understanding of health risks across the city.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2176-2183
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Volume24
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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