Toxocariasis Fact Sheet
Toxocariasis is a parasitic disease in people caused by infection with a roundworm found in dogs or cats.
What is toxocariasis?
- Toxocariasis is an infection that can cause serious illness, including organ damage and eye disease.
Who can get toxocariasis?
Anyone. However, some people are at higher risk of infection, including:
- People who accidentally eat dirt
- Dog or cat owners
How does someone get toxocariasis?
- Dogs and cats infected with Toxocara shed Toxocara eggs in their feces
- People become infected by accidentally swallowing dirt that has been contaminated with dog or cat feces that contain Toxocara eggs
- Although it is rare, people can become infected from eating undercooked meat containing Toxocara larvae
- The disease is not spread by person-toperson contact like a cold or the flu
What are the symptoms?
- Many people do not have symptoms and do not ever get sick
- Some people (usually children) may get sick from the infection, and may have:
- Fever along with damage to organs in their body, problems breathing, or stomach pain
- Eye disease that causes vision problems, eye pain, or eye redness
What do I do if I think my child or I might have toxocariasis?
- You should see a healthcare provider who will examine you or your child. Your provider may take a sample of your blood for testing.
How do I prevent toxocariasis?
- Teach your kids to wash their hands after playing and not to eat dirt
- Cover sandboxes and restrict animalaccess to play areas
- Dispose of dog and cat feces promptly and wash your hands after handling pet waste
- Take your pets to the veterinarian to prevent infection with Toxocara. Your veterinarian can recommend a testing and treatment plan for deworming