Rat lungworm: Cuban tree frogs in Florida carrying parasite that could be deadly to pets, humans

An invasive species is spreading across Florida and bringing with it a dangerous and possibly deadly parasite. 

The Cuban tree frog can be found all throughout Florida. Riding onboard some of these frogs is a rat lungworm, according to a University of Florida study. The parasite is originally found on rats, but it's now hopping on this frog. 


Wildlife experts say this can be dangerous to you or your pet if the parasite is ingested through making contact with the frog. 

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"The big thing is if you are concerned, talk with your veterinarian about it. They can run the proper diagnostics. If children do happen to handle them that they are washing their hands and not ingesting it, because it has to be ingested," said Heather Walden, Ph.D., with the University of Florida. 

Walden says there are no cures for rat lungworm. The easiest way to avoid them is to not handle frogs. 

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