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Raccoon roundworms in pet kinkajous--three states, 1999 and 2010.

MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report

Tennessee, parasitology, Raccoons, Procyonidae, Pets, Indiana, Humans, Florida, Feces, Child, Preschool, pathogenicity, isolation & purification, Ascaridoidea, Ascaridida Infections, Animals

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      Baylisascaris procyonis (BP) is the common roundworm of raccoons (Procyon lotor). Adult BP live in the small intestine of this host, where they produce eggs that are passed in the feces. BP eggs ingested by nondefinitive host species hatch in the intestine, producing larvae that can migrate widely, causing visceral, ocular, or neural larva migrans. Cases of neural larva migrans in humans caused by BP likely acquired from raccoons have resulted in severe encephalitis with permanent deficits and in death. Although raccoons are the most common definitive host of BP in North America, some other carnivores, including domestic dogs, can serve as definitive hosts, making them a potential source of human disease. Less well-documented is infection in procyonids other than raccoons (e.g., kinkajous [Potos flavus], coatis [Nasua spp.], olingos [Bassaricyon spp.], and ringtails [Bassariscus astutus]) and the potential for transmission from these species to humans. This report describes cases of BP infection in pet kinkajous that placed humans at risk for infection. Avoiding contact with feces from potentially infected animals and routine deworming of pets, including dogs and exotic species that might host this parasite, will prevent infection with BP.

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