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CDC Reports Prevalence of Worms Transmitted by Dogs and Cats to Humans is Higher Than Previously Understood
Date:11/5/2007

New study showing high rate of Toxocara infection in young children and

youth under age 20 raises public health concerns

BEL AIR, Md., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- About 14 percent of the U.S. population is infected with Toxocara, or internal roundworms, contracted from dogs and cats. That's according to the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study announced today at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Philadelphia.

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The CDC study shows the transmission of Toxocara from dogs and cats to people is most common in young children and youth under age 20, and more common in non-Hispanic Blacks than in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites of all age groups. It is highest in lower socioeconomic and less-educated populations. All children, however, are more susceptible to infection given their propensity to play in and sometimes eat contaminated soil.

Infections are acquired by accidental ingestion of Toxocara eggs found in environments contaminated with feces of infected dogs and cats. This includes play areas and sandboxes.

"The results of this study demonstrate that Toxocara infection in the United States is more widespread and common than previously understood," said Peter Schantz, VMD, PhD, an epidemiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the CDC and a founding board member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). "Although most persons infected with Toxocara have no apparent symptoms, this infectious agent is capable of causing blindness and other serious systemic illness, which makes it a public health issue."

While rare, the visual impairment most ofte
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SOURCE Companion Animal Parasite Council
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