NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

According to a KJRH in Oklahoma report, a 17-month-old toddler has contracted the potentially very serious raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis.

Image by edbo23 from Pixabay

The parents, Colten and Alycia Barnes were dealing with the unknown since the Thanksgiving holiday when 17-month-old son Ryder demonstrated symptoms. After hearing things like “It’s just a virus” and seeing their son only get worse, they sought out the help and expertise of a pediatric neurologist where still after a period of time they finally diagnosed the boy with the dangerous parasite.

The report states the child is in rehab and should be home in several weeks.

Baylisascaris procyonis is a roundworm found in the small intestines of raccoons. They excrete the eggs of this parasite in their feces. The eggs can survive in the environment for years under favorable conditions. There can be millions of eggs shed by the raccoon, with high densities in the feces and the soil surrounding it.

LISTEN: Interview with Baylisascaris expert and Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Parasitology at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Kevin Kazacos, DVM, PhD

Humans and animals get infected by accidentally ingesting eggs from the environment, from raccoon feces, contaminated water or fomites. Raccoons typically defecate in favored areas called latrines. Common latrines include the bases of trees, raised forks of trees, fallen logs, rooftops, woodpiles and decks.

The infection can be severe and even fatal if the roundworms enter a person’s eye, organs, or brain. Baylisascariasis does not spread person-to-person.

Symptomatic infection in humans is relatively rare with less than 3 dozen cases reported; however, new University of Georgia research suggests there can be asymptomatic infections.

Learn more in the video below: