A parasitic worm that infects people's brains is turning up more frequently on Maui, and Hawaiian officials are getting worried. "It’s like having a slow-moving bullet go through your brain," says state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, per the AP, explaining the effects of rat lungworm disease.
According to ABC News, the worm lives in the lungs of rats, but its larvae are expelled in the rats' feces and infect slugs and snails, which in turn pass the larvae on to humans. The larvae can survive for months in humans, growing into worms an inch long. The parasite can cause a rare form of meningitis, which comes along with serious headaches, vomiting, temporary facial paralysis, and more.
There's no treatment for the disease, and it can cause permanent brain damage, though it is rarely fatal.