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A parasitic worm that can infect the brains of both people and animals, causing meningitis, is spreading throughout the state of Florida, according to a new study, with health officials fearing that it may be in other areas throughout the southern U.S.
The researchers found the parasitic roundworm, known as rat lungworm, living in rats, snails and slugs in five Florida counties in both the central and northern parts of the state. Rat lungworm is native to Hawaii and tropical locations and was previously found in southern Florida, but the new study is one of the first to show the extent of the parasite’s spread across the state.
In a study done by the University of Florida, which was published in PLoS ONE, the researchers tested rats…