Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris Infection)

  • 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 humans. 
  • If infection occurs, the parasites will take over the brain and other organs. 
  • Human infection of raccoon roundworm is rare.
  • This parasite is located in the intestines of raccoons and therefore could be a problem wherever raccoons are found.
  • 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.
  • 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
    • Coma
  • Currently, there are no known drugs to treat Baylisascaris infection.  Albendazole has been used in some cases.
  • Early detection can reduce serious damage that can occur from infection.
  • Seek immediate medical care if you suspect you have been contaminated.
  • 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
    • Keep things like sandboxes well covered
  • 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.