Baylisascaris is a rare, sometimes fatal disease. It is caused by a small, worm-like parasite, called the raccoon roundworm, that is carried by raccoons.

You can become infected by eating dirt that contains eggs. Small children are at a higher risk.


Symptoms for baylisascaris include:
  • Fever
  • Irritable mood
  • Problems with balance
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Uncontrolled actions
  • Shaking
  • Seizures


To avoid baylisascaris, wear gloves when you remove fresh raccoon feces. Throw out the feces and any protective gear used into doubled garbage bags. Treat soiled surfaces with boiling water. Bleach and other disinfectants will not work. Wash your hands well with soap and water after cleaning.

Here are some other steps you can take:

  • Remove or cover any outside food sources that might attract raccoons.
  • Do not feed raccoons or bring one into your home.
  • Close off sandboxes, attics and basements at night.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after working outside.
  • Wash children's hands after playing outside, especially before eating
  • Oversee small children outdoors. Make sure they do not put dirt, leaves or wood in their mouths or touch feces.
  • Blindness


If you think you have ingested raccoon feces, contact your health care provider.

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