Feeling shivery? Having a headache? Feeling sick? Maybe you have some larvae in your brain?

The term angiostrongyliasis defines an infection with a roundworm of either the Angiostrongylus cantonensis genus, which causes eosinophilic meningitis or Angiostrongylus costaricensis, which causes abdominal angiostrongyliasis. The two of them can be found in south east Asia, the Caribbean and Africa.

The adult worms live in the lungs of rats and make their offspring go on a fascinating journey: after being coughed up, the larvae are swallowed and travel to the rat's intestine where they are being passed into the open, only to be picked up by an intermediate host, a snail. There they go to worm kindergarten and school and then graduate by passing from the snail back to a rat, just to find their way into their lungs.

Humans are an accidental host and are getting infected by eating snails or plants infected with the larvae (..how often do I have to tell you to wash your veggies, ay?). The larvae then find their way miraculously from the gut into the hosts brain(or stay in the intestine, in A. costariciensis's case), and cause mayhem:

Eosinophilic meningitis starts with fevers, visual disturbances and can progress into serious headaches, shifting conciousness levels and even death. Unfortunately there's no cure, but symptomatic treatment with steroids and analgesia will help in most cases.

A recent case showed a group of american students getting infected after eating a caesar salad on Jamaica.

See, nothing is safe anymore.

Not even Caesar Salad.

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