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Vet Parasitol Reg Stud Reports. 2019 Apr;16:100275. doi: 10.1016/j.vprsr.2019.100275. Epub 2019 Feb 21.

Baylisascaris procyonis infection in raccoons: A review of demographic and environmental factors influencing parasite carriage.

Author information

1
Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. Electronic address: frenchs@uoguelph.ca.
2
Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. Electronic address: dpearl@uoguelph.ca.
3
Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. Electronic address: aperegri@ovc.uoguelph.ca.
4
Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. Electronic address: cjardi01@uoguelph.ca.

Abstract

Baylisascaris procyonis, the roundworm of raccoons (Procyon lotor), is an emerging helminthic zoonosis in North America. Since the larval form is capable of causing neurological disease in more than 150 species of birds and mammals including humans, understanding factors that influence carriage of the parasite by raccoons is important for mitigating risk. This review examines the current literature to identify major demographic and environmental risk factors associated with B. procyonis carriage in wild raccoons. Raccoon age and season of sample collection were most commonly identified as risk factors, with increased prevalence found in juvenile animals and when sample collection occurred in the fall. Human urbanization and agricultural land use were also observed as potential risk factors; however, there are inconsistencies in the direction of influence these risk factors have on the prevalence of infection. Further investigation into the role of environmental risk factors is required to better understand how human activities influence parasite carriage in raccoons. Additionally, future research using multivariable statistical models guided by epidemiological principles to control for confounding variables and identify interaction effects will help clarify the effect of these demographic and environmental factors. Developing a better understanding of the primary risk factors for parasite carriage in raccoons will help identify areas of higher risk for environmental contamination and will aid in the development and refinement of education and management programs to reduce the risk of human exposure.

KEYWORDS:

Baylisascaris procyonis; Demographic factors; Environment; Procyon lotor; Raccoon; Risk factor

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