Green Lake Concert to Focus on Rat Lungworm Awareness
The “Green Lake Rat Lungworm Awareness Concert” may be an unusual name for an event, but the organizers’ aim is to draw attendance and attention to this free educational event which will focus on providing information and resources to prevent the contraction of rat lungworm disease.
The event will be held at Green Lake in Puna from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26.
The entertainment will be headlined by Lito Arkangel, with Cosmorchestra, Kunzwanana Marimba Ensemble, Uncle’s ‘Awa Band, hula halau and other performers.
The music will be supplemented by short, educational speeches, informational exhibits, food and craft booths.
Learn how to keep rats and slugs out of your vegetable garden, how to manage your water catchment system, and how to prepare food safely.
Get the latest in research results about the disease, which is prevalent in Puna makai.
Rat lungworm disease is a form of meningitis that can affect the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms may include severe headache, stiffness of the neck and back, skin tingling, pain and sensitivity to light, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting and sometimes coma and death.
In Hawai‘i, the disease was first documented in lower Puna and is still most prevalent there.
The rat lungworm is a parasite with a complex life cycle that alternates between two hosts: rats and certain snails and slugs.
Rat lungworm has five larval stages, followed by a reproducing adult stage. Humans are affected by the third stage larvae of snails and slugs.
Inside the human body, they are unable to grow to full adulthood and complete their life cycle —they generally die in the central nervous system. They infest farms, vegetable
They infest farms, vegetable gardens and home water catchment systems and enter the human body through ingestion of produce contaminated with their slime, or through unfiltered catchment water.
The best defense against rat lungworm disease is proactive—avoidance of the hosts.
The strategies to accomplish this will be shared at the event by the state Department of Health, the School of Pharmacy, CTAHR, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawaii
Catchment Company, Malama O Puna and Puna Community Medical Center.
Talk with the experts at their booths and pick up printed material to take home to read and refer to.
Ace Hardware will be giving out a limited number of free rat traps and there will be water catch filters available.
Slug-eating ducks will be available for purchase.
The students of Kua O Ka La Charter School will open the event with a Hawaiian chant and blessing.
The Burrows family is donating the use of the property, some tents, stage and some of the security.
Men of Pa‘a will provide security and parking attendants as well.
The event is co-sponsored by a county contingency grant from Eileen O’Hara and the environmental nonprofit Malama O Puna.