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February 24, 1962

Eosinophilic Meningoencephalitis Caused by a Metastrongylid Lung-Worm of Rats

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md., and Honolulu

From Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (Dr. Rosen) and Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases (Dr. Weinstein), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Laboratory of Experimental Pathology (Dr. Laqueur) of National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, Bethesda, Md.; St. Francis Hospital, Honolulu (Dr. Chappell), and Department of Health, State of Hawaii, and Communicable Disease Center, U.S. Public Health Service (Dr. Wallace).

JAMA. 1962;179(8):620-624. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050080032007

As part of a study on eosinophilic meningitis in the Pacific area, postmortem material was examined from 2 mental patients who died in Hawaii with an eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. A number of young adult nematodes, identified as Angiostrongylus cantonensis, a rat lungworm, were found in the brain and meninges of 1 patient. Foreign material in the brain of the second patient and a cellular reaction similar to that observed in the first case suggested that this person also may have been infected with the same parasite. The presence of other abnormalities precluded an attempt to determine how many of either patient's symptoms might have been caused by this parasite. It was also not determined how either patient may have become infected.