It’s perfect viral fodder: First an unusually large stucco-snarfing snail shows up unexpectedly in someone’s Texas garden, then the words “invasive,” “meningitis” and “deadly” start circulating with gusto.
In more mundane reality, a gardener in Houston recently discovered what’s sometimes referred to as a giant African land snail (scientific name Achatina fulica) in her yard. The snails, which can measure up to three inches in height and eight inches in length, often host a variety of parasites, including a critter called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, more commonly known as “rat lungworm” because it tends to lodge in the pulmonary arteries of rats. If humans contract this particular parasite, they can develop something called eosinophilic meningitis.
Well, for starters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans tend to be infected only “under unusual…
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