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Posted: Thursday, February 6th, 2014 11:02 AM HST

Student at Big Island school finds snail in lunch

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) A student at a Big Island school found a snail in his cafeteria-served lunch.

KHON-TV reports the Kealakehe High School principal says he is taking the matter very seriously.

The snail was found Wednesday on a student's salad served at the Kailua-Kona school cafeteria.

Principal Wilfred Murakami says the salad ingredients were washed properly by cafeteria staff. Murakami says that in this case, the snail was lodged in one of the leaves.

Snails and slugs may contain parasites that can attack the nervous system, causing rat lungworm disease. The disease can be debilitating.

Hawaii state epidemiologist Sarah Park says the disease can cause long-term complications, such as residual ghost pain, weakness in the limbs and headaches.

Murakami says the level of inspection at the cafeteria is being increased.

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