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J Vet Med Sci. 2003 Apr;65(4):453-7.

Epidemiological aspects of the first outbreak of Baylisascaris procyonis larva migrans in rabbits in Japan.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Japan.


Larva migrans caused by the common raccoon ascarid, Baylisascaris procyonis, is a zoonotic disease of critical importance in North America. Recently we encountered the first proven outbreak of this disease in Japan in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in a small wildlife park. In this park, raccoons (Procyon lotor) had been kept for 9 years, and one raccoon was donated to the park by a pet owner 8 weeks prior to the occurrence of an outbreak in rabbits. Of 12 total raccoons, three raccoons including the donated one shed B. procyonis eggs in the feces, and two of these positive raccoons were kept in metal mesh cages on wooden pedestals, 2 m distant from the rabbit enclosure. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the donated raccoon is the likely source of this outbreak. Treatment of the raccoons with an ascaricide and decontamination by extensive flaming of the cages and the contaminated dirt floor of the park achieved a transient disappearance of ascarids from all 12 enclosed raccoons. Three months after the control measures began, recurrent ascarid infection was detected in three young raccoons of less than 1.5 years of age. The potential risk of serious zoonosis by B. procyonis as well as the difficulty in a clearance of contaminated areas should be considered by pet owners and public health workers in Japan.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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