Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris) Information & Dangers


Raccoon Roundworm in AtticRaccoon Roundworm, also known as Baylisascaris procyonis, is recognized as a serious cause of fatal diseases such as ocular, zoonotic visceral and neural larva migrans. The most vulnerable are young children, of which encephalitis, is the most devastating condition. Exposure occurs mainly in latrines infested by raccoons where pets and humans can accidentally ingest roundworm eggs. Eggs that can lie dormant for several years. Risk infections by children are typically by contact with these latrines. The seriousness of the infection depends on the location of larval migration and the number of eggs ingested. The roundworm larvae effect their victim as they go through the muscles, organs, including the brain, liver, eyes and lungs. Raccoon Roundworms are a very serious danger to human beings and pets because once infected there is no known cure or treatment that can reverse the detrimental effects.

Raccoons shed a huge amount of roundworm eggs when they defecate. For new egg deposits to develop fully into the infective stage, it takes almost a month. But for the eggs to develop into worms, they have to be in an animal’s body. In soil, sand and water they become hardy and reach a dormant stage waiting to be ingested. The eggs can even survive seasons of extreme weather conditions and still live up to years in the soil. Human beings encounter them whenever they come into contact with raccoon droppings or touch contaminated surfaces and objects. So always make sure your hands are clean to avoid transferring the eggs into your mouth. Children are the most vulnerable because they put their hands and other objects into their mouths. Animals may also get infected if they eat infected animals or feces of such animals.

Raccoon Roundworm Life CycleRaccoon Roundworm Symptoms

Most people experience skin irritations, nausea, liver enlargements, tiredness, blindness, loss of muscle control and coordination, coma and inattentiveness. Raccoons hardly exhibit symptoms of the infection but species which do not usually host this worm show abnormal behavior when infected. The victims of the roundworm would experience; difficulty in walking, falling over, rolling on the ground, falling into a coma, lying on their sides among others.

Raccoon Roundworm Treatment

The disease can be prevented if the worms are killed before migrating through the body. So if you suspect that someone has been exposed to raccoon roundworm, seeking medical attention immediately is the best option. If treatment is not done early, recovery from this condition is less assured. Infections related to raccoon roundworms are difficult to diagnose.

The prognosis for B. procyonis NLM is grave with or without treatment; among documented cases, there are no neurologically intact survivors. Raccoon Roundworm Treatment for Humans 

Raccoon Roundworm Treatment for Dogs

Prevention Of Raccoon Roundworm Infection

For people working in areas with raccoon feces, wear rubber gloves, a protective respirator, disposable coveralls and rubber gloves. Since raccoon eggs are quite resistance to common disinfectants, it is advisable that you burn any contaminated material and feces. If the idea is not feasible, ensure that you bury the materials deeply after double-bagging them. Contaminated clothing should also discarded, alternatively boil them in water mixed with bleach. Scrub your rubber boots using bleach and a scrubbing brush. Before storing your traps ensure that you clean them while fresh in order to remove feces. You can alternatively clean them with boiling water mixed with bleach.

Other preventive measures:

  • Ensure that your pets are “wormed” at least three times each year.
  • Keep your children away from places infested by raccoons in order to ensure that they do not come into contact with roundworm eggs. Train them to always keep their hands clean. Scrub their fingernails if you suspect they’ve come into contact with dirt after playing.
  • Remove and destroy raccoon feces promptly. This would reduce exposure to human beings. The most common places where raccoons defecate include: on large rocks, on fallen logs and fireplaces among others.