Raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, is a nematode that lives in the intestines of many raccoons. There the worms shed eggs that exit the raccoons through the feces. Since raccoons tend to defecate in the same locations, known as toilettes, these sites pose risks to those who encounter the contaminated soils. What follows is 10 facts about raccoon roundworm.
- A raccoon can have 20,000 to 26,000 of roundworm eggs in a gram of feces.
- Raccoons can become infected by ingesting infective eggs or by eating animals already infected with the worms.
- Children are the most likely to be infected because they are more likely to play in contaminated areas and put their dirty hands in their mouth.
- The roundworm has been found to infect more than 100 species of animals, including dogs.
- Raccoon roundworm can damage organs, eyes, and cause encephalitis (i.e. inflammation of the brain).
- Roundworm eggs can survive for years in moist conditions, such as shaded soils.
- Roundworm eggs can be killed by exposure to prolonged sunlight, dry conditions, or temperatures above 144 degrees F.
- There are no products registered for the disinfecting roundworm eggs on surfaces.
- When surveys have been done, raccoon roundworm has been found throughout the United States, with only one exception.
- Signs of infection in animals include, lethargy, ataxia, circling, loss of fear of humans, slow arching of head and neck, slow movements, leaning, etc.
Kazacos, Kevin R. 2001. Baylisascaris procyonis and related species. Parasitic Diseases of Wild Animals: Endoparasites Part II. Chapter 11. pp.301-341.
Shafir, Shira C.; Wei Wang, Frank J. Sorvillo, Matthew E. Wise, Laurel Moore, Teresa Sorvillo, and Mark L. Eberhard. 2007. Thermal Depth Point of Baylisascaris procyonis Eggs. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 13:1(Jan): 172-173.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.