Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses

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Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses

Toxocara

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Epidemiology

Toxocara canis is a roundworm parasite of dogs and foxes and eggs of these parasites can survive in the environment for many years. Humans (usually children) can acquire T. canis eggs by ingesting soil, by direct contact with dogs (usually puppies) or by consumption of uncooked or undercooked food contaminated with eggs, possibly transmitted by flies.

Main clinical features

Some infections may be asymptomatic, but there are a number of clinical syndromes:

  • Visceral toxocarosis: fever, coughing and wheezing, enlarged lymph nodes and skin rash; usually young children
  • Ocular toxocarosis: loss of visual acuity from blurring through to blindness, usually in only one eye; usually older children
  • Covert toxocarosis: a milder from than above characterised by: weakness/lethargy, abdominal pain, enlarged lymph nodes, skin rash and urticaria, headache, cough/wheeze, limb pain, nausea

Incubation period

1 - 7days

Surveillance

Voluntary laboratory reports.

Annual Surveillance Tables