Toxocariasis is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Worldwide helminthic infection of humans, agent nematodes: Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) and less frequently Toxocara cati (cat roundworm).
  • Humans infected, accidental hosts by ingesting eggs from contaminated soil [life cycle Fig. 1] by feces of infected dogs or cats.
    • Usually overcrowded, poor living conditions with dogs or cats.
      • Ingested eggs evolve to larval forms penetrating intestinal mucosa with subsequent spread to a variety of body organs (visceral larval migrans, VLM and/or eyes, ocular larval migrans, OLM) in an arrested development, no ongoing production. Host inflammatory reactions produce symptoms as parasites die off.
      • Human infection does not yield egg production, hence inspection of stool O&P pointless.
  • Baylisascaris procyonis (raccoon roundworm, worldwide including U.S.) has been reported to also cause VLM (mainly CNS forms, eosinophilic meningoencephalitis) and OLM.
  • Note: cutaneous larval migrans (CLM) is caused by a number of nematodes, most commonly hookworm (Ancylostoma braziliense)

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Last updated: February 1, 2016