Dog Roundworm Transmission Rates to Humans

A CDC study revealed that frequency of worms transmitted from dogs and cats is higher than previously thought.

Posted: November 7, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the frequency of worms transmitted from dogs and cats to humans is higher than previously believed, according to the results of a new study released Nov. 5, 2007.

The study revealed that the transmission of Toxocara (internal roundworms) from dogs and cats to humans is more prevalent in those ages 20 and younger. Children are more susceptible due to increased activity outdoors as well as their propensity to play in and ingest contaminated soil, according to the CDC.

The illness is passed from infected animals to humans who ingest the Toxocara eggs found in the animals’ feces. Transmission may occur in areas contaminated with dog and cat feces – including sandboxes and children’s play areas, according to the CDC.

In addition, the study showed that Toxocara is more prevalent in non-Hispanic blacks than Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites across all age groups.

Approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population is infected with Toxocara, CDC officials stated.

“The results of this study demonstrate that Toxocara infection in the United States is more widespread and common that previously understood,” said Peter Schantz, an epidemiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the CDC. “Although most persons infected with Toxocara have no apparent symptoms, this infectious agent is capable of causing blindness and other serious systemic illnesses, which makes it a public health issue.”

Although it’s rare, blindness most often affects children, Schantz said. However, the exact number of Toxocara cases resulting in visual impairments is not known because the illness is not a reportable infection.

To decrease human infections, pet owners should treat their dogs and cats with year-round parasite prevention and control in order to reduce the number of infected pets transmitting the illness, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, a nonprofit organization.


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Patricia   Flower mound, TX

11/28/2010 4:36:10 PM

can ringworms kill my little yorkie if he keeps getting them? Am very clean and he a clean little dog and I have a cat that i treat each time my dog gets treated but all the pills and meds the vet gives me they keep comming back and now he has them bad, there in his stool little white worms moving aroung after hes treated they seem to come back with in a month or 2 the most and this is the only year he has had them in the 9 years that hes been my world and the cat too, he thinks hes a dog and acts like one toobut I will get rid of him if hes the reason Pepper cant get rid of them but neither of them ever had them before and i dont se any worms when the cat uses his little box and pepper is coughing and chocking each time he takes a drink of water and makes a hacking noise then hes ok but he coughs every time he drinks i rub his throat and that seems to help him alot i was told by my vet that his track ticks but its just not normal to see him like this , can these worms make him so sick he could die, am taking him to a new vet in 3 days for his yearly shots and a dewormer too my vet of 20 years retired and this new man is about money he wouldnt take hlf a payment and treat my dog and get the rest ibn 3 days when i have been a good customer for years and 2 others dogs he took care of them til they passed away but my yorkie i got to attached to the little guy and i cant see him suffer but i also dont have the money for 3 days can this wait? thank you Patricia n Pepper Too!! Hes my whole world..

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Tony   Cherry Hill, NJ

10/12/2008 6:27:11 PM

Thank you for an enlightening article. Additional information would be welcome.

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Mary   Battle Creek, MI

11/7/2007 3:33:11 PM

We'll have to watch out for this. Thanks for the update!

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sarah   chicago, IL

11/7/2007 2:33:27 PM

it's very nice to be aware of this. Thank you for the article.

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