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Baylisascaris infection: Raccoons more active in spring...

Image of a raccoon.

Raccoons emerge from their winter dormancy (sleep) and become more active in the spring. They begin scavenging for food and searching for a mate. This means raccoons may be around your home more often in the spring.

Raccoons may be infected with Baylisascaris procyonis, a roundworm that is dangerous to people. Reported cases of Baylisascaris infection in people are rare, but can be severe or life-threatening. People become infected when they accidentally ingest soil, water, or objects that have been contaminated with raccoon feces. Most infections are in children and others who are more likely to put dirt or animal waste in their mouth by mistake.

In nature, raccoons make their dens in trees, burrows, and caves, especially in wooded areas near water. However, the availability of food and suitable spaces to make their dens (attics, crawl spaces under houses, and so on) has drawn these animals to urban and suburban areas.

Raccoons are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Trash cans that are not securely closed or food that is left outside attracts these wild animals. Because raccoons are nocturnal (active at night), they may go unnoticed, even if they live close to your home.

More on: Discouraging Raccoons From Living in and Around Your Home or Parks

More on: If You Find A Raccoon Latrine Near Your Home [PDF, 111 KB, 1 page]

More on: Baylisascaris

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  • Page last reviewed: April 19, 2013
  • Page last updated: April 19, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health - Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
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