An Effective Barrier to Prevent Crop Contamination by Slug Vectors of Angiostrongylus cantonensis

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  • 1 Maui District Health Office, Hawaii Department of Health, Wailuku, Hawaii

The accidental ingestion of slugs, intermediate hosts to the Angiostrongylus cantonensis parasite, is the most common cause of rat lungworm disease (RLWD) found in humans in Hawaii. This disease has high morbidity and can be complicated to diagnose and treat. With these considerations, efforts in prevention of the initial infection are of high priority. Management of the slug and snail population in food crops is a primary focus to reduce contamination of produce with the rat lungworm (RLW) parasite. The purpose of this study was to prevent RLW crop contamination by preventing the intermediate slug hosts from infesting produce. Our studies showed that an electrified metal tape was a very effective barrier first in the laboratory and then in a garden/farm setting. The intervention is simple to install and maintain and with monitoring for occasional barrier breaches should be able to significantly reduce slug invasion. An integrated pest management program will benefit from the addition of this barrier method to prevent slug carriers of RLWD from infesting produce.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Christy Coppolo, Hawaii Department of Health, 54 South High Street, Rm 301, Wailuku, HI 96793. E-mail:

Financial support: This work was supported by the Hawaii Department of Health for project materials.

Authors’ addresses: Lorrin Pang, Christy Coppolo, and Sara Hauptman, Maui District Health Office, Hawaii Department of Health, Wailuku, HI, E-mails:,, and