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Backyard Raccoon 'Latrines' Harbor Hidden Dangers
Date:8/14/2009

picking it up fresh. And then I would also pour boiling water on the spot where you picked up the feces because that will kill the remaining eggs."

Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center and a professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City, said that such measures are worth noting, even if infection rate "is not a major problem."

"When it occurs, infection can be very dangerous," Tierno said, "So if you have any sign, you should go to your health-care provider and get tests run."

As for the issue of raccoons in the backyard, he said it's important to remember that they're wild animals.

"You shouldn't be in contact with them, or feed them or leave out garbage or food that will attract them," Tierno said. "And when you see or smell one of their latrines -- and it's like, wow! So you will certainly smell it -- take steps to remove it carefully but quickly."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on raccoons and infectious disease.



SOURCES: L. Kristen Page, Ph.D., associate professor, ecology, Department of Biology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.; Philip M. Tierno Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director, Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, New York University Langone Medical Center, and clinical professor, microbiology and pathology, NYU School of Medicine, New York City; September 2009; Emerging Infectious Diseases


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