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Hawaiʻi Island mother raises awareness for rat lungworm disease in new book

A Hawaiʻi Island mother who was told her son may not survive with rat lungworm disease wrote a book about the experience.

Kay Howe is hopeful it will spur a change in attitude about the need to educate the public and the medicinal community at large about its diagnosis and treatment.

The book is entitled “Year of the Rat: Disease, Deception and Discovery in Paradise.”

It begins in 2008, the year her adult son, Graham, was diagnosed with the parasite. Her story was featured in a recent documentary featured on PBS Hawaiʻi this month. It focused on the difficulty of diagnosis and the latest treatments available.

Howe, who now lives in Colorado, says she remains grateful that her son survived the ordeal, though he will never be the same.

"Year of the Rat: Disease, Deception and Discovery in Paradise"is available now on Amazon.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Nov. 22, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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