Abstract

Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lungworm, is a zoonotic, parasitic nematode that uses the rat as a definitive host and gastropods as intermediate hosts. It is prevalent in parts of Asia, the Pacific islands, and the Caribbean. In the United States, A. cantonensis is established in Hawaii and in recent years has been reported in Alabama, California, Louisiana, and Florida, where it has been found in the reintroduced Lissachatina fulica (also known as Achatina fulica), the giant African snail that was once eradicated from the state. Since 2004, A. cantonensis has been identified as the causative agent for 2 non-human primate deaths in Florida, one attributed to ingestion of the snail Zachrysia provisoria. Our study further supports the presence of A. cantonensis in Z. provisoria in Florida and identifies 2 additional introduced terrestrial snails, Bradybaena similaris and Alcadia striata, that serve as intermediate hosts for A. cantonensis, as well as evidence of rat infection, in southern Florida. The finding of both definitive and intermediate hosts suggests that A. cantonensis may be established in south Florida.

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