Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Major Professor

Kevin E. Kip, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Henian Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas R. Unnasch, Ph.D.


Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Malacology, Methodology, Nematology, Rat Lungworm


Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasitic nematode endemic to tropical and subtropical regions and is the leading cause of human eosinophilic meningitis. The parasite is commonly known as rat lungworm because the primary host in its lifecycle is the rat. A clinical overview of rat lungworm infection is presented, followed by a literature review of rat lungworm epidemiology, risk factors, and surveillance projects. Data collected from previous snail surveys in Florida was considered alongside elevation, population per square kilometer, median household income by zip code territory, and normalized difference vegetation index specific to the geographic coordinates from which the snail samples were retrieved. The parameters of interest were incorporated as possible predictor variables in a Poisson probability regression model and a negative binomial regression model. NDVI and population density were determined to be positively associated with number of snail samples positive for A. cantonensis in a given Miami-based location. A surveillance project was conducted in Hillsborough County, Florida, U.S.A.. Snail samples were collected and tested for A. cantonensis DNA via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis. None of the samples tested positive for A. cantonensis.