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Parasitic Zoonotic Diseases and How They Affect Humans

Roundworms  

  • ‘Visceral larval migrans’ is where the infective larvae enters the human body and migrates through and encysts in body tissues, often the lung or liver.
  • Clinical signs include fever, coughing, abdominal discomfort or rashes.
  • The eye is common site for parasite migration resulting in partial loss or complete blindness, ‘ocular larval migrans’.
  • May migrate to brain and cause neurological signs and even death.

Hookworms

  • Inflammatory and allergic response occur in the skin where the larvae burrow called ‘cutaneous larval migrans’. Can cause gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea or cramping if enters gut.

Tapeworms 

  • Animal tapeworms can form cysts in the human body, usually the liver, and may become extremely large.

Prevention

  • Strategic deworming – routinely deworming animals at set intervals designed to interrupt the parasite life cycle before eggs or larvae are passed into the environment further contaminating it.
  • Can also microscopically examine fecal samples to identify parasite eggs and larvae and treat as needed. Recommended once yearly at least.
  • Good hygiene

There are several medications that can eliminate or prevent parasites infections in your pet and reduce chances of zoonotic infection in your family. 

  • Pyrantel – pill for intestinal round worms
  • Praziquantel – pill for tape worms.
  • Ivermectin – chewable meat flavored pill for intestinal worms which also protects your pet against heartworm
  • Milbemycin Oxime - chewable pill for heartworm and intestinal parasites

SUMMARY:

People become infected by ingesting parasitic eggs via….

  • People most at risk are Young children.
  • Putting contaminated objects or hands in their mouths.
  • Eating contaminated fruits or vegetables without washing them thoroughly.
  • Playing in sandboxes or areas contaminated with animal feces.
  • Handling animals without washing hands afterwards.
  • Being in close contact with infected animals.
  • Accidentally ingesting a flea.
  • Not practicing good hygiene and sanitation.
  • Having skin contact with contaminated soil.
  • People with kittens &\or puppies in the household.
  • People who are careless about sanitation.
  • People who work in close contact with animals.
  • Pet owners who do not routinely deworm their pets.
  • People who work/live in contaminated environments.
  • People with compromised immune systems.