Roundworm transmissions from pets to humans can and does occur, as roundworms (toxocara canis) is very common parasite in dogs, especially puppies.
This type of transfer is most common in humans under 20 years of age, but especially in children.
Roundworm transferred from pets (either cats or dogs) to humans is much higher than originally believed, with some estimates as high as 14%, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
However, it must be noted, that as kittens and puppies become stronger and their immune system starts to build and develop by the age of 2 to 3 months,.
If your pet has been treated for worms and well cared for, infection is quite rare.
But the transmission of this parasite still happens as the statistics indicate.
Infection can happen with kittens, but is far more common with puppies and young dogs, especially if they are stray dogs, and especially dogs with a weak immune system.
Roundworms have a complex life cycle that following the transmission.
The larval worms will go through an extensive migration through the human body passing the liver and the lungs, before finding their way back to the intestine.
Once where. they will settle to lay their eggs.
Vitamin supplementation can play a major role in the prevention of this and other parasitic infections.
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the major causes of mortality and or morbidity in children worldwide, especially children that are under the age of 5.
Children that live in third world or depressed countries, as well as children in lower income brackets in industrialized countries, are especially at risk.
However, this transmission can and does hit all areas of the world.
Vitamin A is strongly associated with the immune systems and its functions of humans and pets.
Low levels or deficiency of this vitamin and other very essential nutrient are thought to play a critical role in the growth and development of certain parasites.
Especially roundworms entering into humans.
With a deficiency of this vitamin, parasites deplete stores of vitamin A in the body, (both humans and pets), leaving the host with inadequate levels in their body to fight off infection.
This deficiency will lead to an impairment of the fat absorption of this vitamin, which leads to the interference of intestinal uptake of this fat soluble vitamin, and thus contracting helminthic disease.
“Helminth” is the scientific word that is given to various types of worms, some of which, like the roundworm, can live in the gastrointestinal tract.
More than a third of the world currently has one or more of these organisms present in their body, with children being the largest carrier.
Supplementation of Vitamin A has proven to be a very effective method of intervention and prevention of this parasite and infection.
Vitamin B6 has also shown to be very promising in the treatment of roundworm transmission, as it is an immune regulator and that function is critical in the fighting of parasitic infections.
Once they are released into environment, the roundworm transmission will be passed from animals to humans, again usually children, in areas where the pet’s feces have been dropped and thus contaminated.
These areas will include places like sandboxes and or backyard or public play grounds.
Although it is very rare, blindness can affect young children as a result of roundworm transmission.
The infective stage of roundworm transmission may take several weeks, as it takes that long for the eggs to develop into an infective parasite.
Accidentally ingesting the parasite while playing in the infected areas, than getting the infections on their hands, than touching their mouths, is the most common form of transmission.
The human body is not the normal host for these parasites, and roundworm transmission causes the parasite to get lost in the human body.
In this case, it does not undergo the normal migratory path it takes in animals.
Eye contact is the most common form of infection as children will touch their eyes first, and thus the potential blindness if the infection is very serious.
However, these parasites can also migrate to organs, a disease called “visceral larva migrnas”.
Other organs of the body that can be affected as these parasites migrate are the lung, where they migrate first.
This infection, if severe enough, causes chest pain, coughing, difficulty in breathing, and in severe cases, inflammation of the lungs.
This can be a very serious infection in young children.
The liver is also at risk, but it would take a very serious infection to affect the liver.
While most children will show no symptoms at all, it will all depend on the number of infected eggs that are ingested and the organs that are affected.
Roundworm transmission is exhilarated by the fact that these eggs can remain active for several months, and even years in the right circumstances, and still be a threat.
Chemical disinfectants have no affect at all on these eggs, so the sandbox and backyard still remain the major source of concern.
These eggs that cause roundworm transmission can only be killed by very extreme heat such as steam or flame, or long term exposure to ultraviolet light (sunshine).
Once the backyard becomes contaminated, the only real cure is to remove the entire surface soil layer.
The overall importance of protecting young children from this parasite transmission is quite evident.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you have young puppies treated at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age for roundworms, as worms are killed rapidly following treatment.
The proper veterinarian care for your puppy, and the appropriate vitamin supplementation for your child and your pet, can virtually stop any transmission.