Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris Infection)

Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris Infection)

Description

Baylisascaris infection is caused by the parasite or roundworm that is found in the intestines of raccoons. Roundworm can be transmitted to other animals, including pets as well as and humans.  If infection occurs, the parasites will take over the brain and other organs.  Human infection of raccoon roundworm is rare.

Location

This parasite is located in the intestines of raccoons and therefore could be a problem wherever raccoons are found.

Cause

Roundworm eggs can be found in the feces of infected raccoons. Transmission of this disease occurs through contact or ingestion of these feces. Consequently, these eggs can also be found in soil and water.

Symptoms

The severity of symptoms depends on how many eggs are ingested and can take up to week to occur. These include: nausea, enlarged liver, coordination loss, loss of muscle control, blindness, and even coma.

Treatment

Currently, there are no known drugs to treat Baylisascaris infection.  Albendazole has been used in some cases. Early detection can reduce the serious damage that can occur from infection. Seek immediate medical care if you suspect you have been contaminated.

Prevention

Avoid any contact with raccoons and their feces. Always wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after spending time outside where raccoons are found. Never keep a raccoon as a pet. Raccoons rarely show signs of roundworm. If raccoons live in your area you can prevent them from coming in or near your home by: preventing any access to food, garbage, or animal feed, seal off access to attics and basements, eliminate sources of water, remove bird feeders, and keep things like sandboxes well covered.

Handling
Animals    

Always call a professional to handle and remove raccoons and their feces. You may see feces at the base of trees, on fallen logs, stumps or rocks. They can also be on your porches and in your attics.

Other Facts

Dogs can be infected with roundworm, make sure and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your pets if raccoons are in the area.