rat lungworm disease

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Charlotte Harris

Charlotte Harris

Charlotte Harris is from Northern British Columbia in Canada but came to Hawai'i in 2004 to tutor special needs children.

She enrolled at the University of Hawai'i to enhance her teaching credentials when she unknowingly contracted Rat Lungworm Disease.

Prior to becoming ill, she says she had heard of the disease, but felt most everyone that she knew did not take it all that seriously - even made light of it by calling it 'brain worms'.

With a catchment water system at home she and her family brushed their teeth from the catchment water, bathed in it and never connected with the fact that the snails in the gutters around the house could bring such calamity.

She feels she contracted the disease either by eating local produce or from using water daily from the catchment system they relied on at home for water.

In the course of her illness she has lost almost 50% of her pre-illness body weight.

At first she was experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms. When she finally recieved a diagnosis some 8 months later she was informed that it was something she would have to deal with for the rest of her life.

Charlotte does not know what the future holds for her, but has heard of other victims that go into spontaneous remission.

She holds out hope she too will be able to experience life the same way she used to prior to Rat Lungworm entering her life through a miraculous remission or future advances in medical solutions.

In the meantime she continues to live in Hawaii and is getting married soon.

Beyond the Fear: A Documentary About Rat Lungworm Disease Survivors

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.

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