What is Raccoon Roundworm?

A raccoon roundworm infection is that infection caused by the Baylisascaris which is basically the raccoon roundworm. The roundworm species that is found in the Sacramento raccoon is Baylisascaris procyonis. The infection comes about when the eggs of the roundworm are ingested by the humans and this leads to larvae hatching within the intestines. After they hatch, they travel through organs and into the muscles. This is referred to as larva migrans syndrome.

When a Sacramento raccoon is infected, it sheds mullions of the roundworm eggs within the fecal waste. The eggs then develop to the stage that is infective in a matter of 2-4 weeks. Eggs are usually resistant to any kind of environmentalconditions and when there is enough moisture, the eggs can be able to survive for many years. When the eggs are ingested accidentally by an animal or a person, infection starts to spread. Young children can be infected as they can get it from the soil, objects, hands or water that had come into contact with California raccoon feces. So as to hatch, it is a must for the eggs to be ingested. Animals can also be infected ifthey eat another animal with the roundworm.

Signs and symptoms
The symptoms and signs of infectionwithbaylisascarisdepend on the number of eggs that have already been ingested and where the larva goes to after hatching. Whenswallowed and within the body, the eggs will hatch to larvae and this caused disease when migration to the spinal cord, brain, liver and other organs occur.

When a few eggs are swallowed, there may be just a few or no symptoms at all. Whentheeggs are ingested in a large quantity, then the symptoms can be very serious and they can include things such as nausea, liver enlargement, fatigue, and lack of attention, loss of coordination, blindness, coma, loss of muscle control and so on. There are several cases which have been fatal. The signs and symptoms may take about a week after ingestion to develop.

Risk group
All persons who are exposed to an environment where there are California raccoons are at a risk of exposure. The young children who play with about anything are also at a very high risk especially if they spend some time outdoors. They may put dirty objects or hands into their mouths. Developmentally disabled persons are also at a high risk as they may also put dirtyobjects or hands into their mouths thereby ingesting the eggs unknowingly. Other people at a high risk ofinfection include the Sacramento wildlife rehabilitators, taxidermists, trappers and hunters especially if they get to handle the raccoons or their fecal matter.

The cure
There is no effective cure available currently. So as to avoid infection, you should always avoid coming into contact with the Sacramento animals and most especially the feces. Don’t keep, adopt or feed the raccoons as pets or otherwise. Discourage California raccoons around your home at all times.

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