Baylisascaris research in Ontario
Raccoons are the primary reservoir host for the roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, a parasite that has potential to cause severe neurological disease in humans and domestic animals. Baylisascaris lives in the small intestine of raccoons and transmission to humans and domestic animals occurs through the ingestion of infective larvated eggs found in raccoon feces. Determining the prevalence of Baylisascaris in raccoons is a key step in assessing the potential public health burden associated with raccoon roundworms in Ontario. Kirstie Puskas, a summer student supported through the Ontario Veterinary College Pfizer Summer Student Research Scholarship will be working with CCWHC staff this summer to determine the prevalence of Baylisascaris in raccoons in southern Ontario. In addition, since dogs can develop patent infections, the generated data, in combination with canine fecal data from the Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, will help derive an estimate of the relative role of raccoons and dogs in environmental contamination.