The disease caused by nematode parasites of the genus Baylisascaris; migrating larvae of the raccoon parasite B. procyonis can cause a severe disease of the central nervous system in a variety of wild and domestic animal species and, rarely, in humans; human disease has been manifested as either a fatal eosinophilic meningoencephalitis or a diffuse unilateral subacute neuroretinitis.
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Thirty severe or fatal human cases of baylisascariasis have been reported (5-7; K.
Implications of raccoon latrines in the epizootiology of baylisascariasis.
One notable omission is the absence of discussion of emerging helminthic diseases, such as angiostrongyliasis, cysticercosis, alveolar echinococcosis, and baylisascariasis.
Other causes of a parasitic CNS disease, such as cysticercosis, toxocariasis, schistosomiasis, baylisascariasis, or paragonimiasis, can be distinguished by epidemiologic distribution, clinical signs and symptoms, radiologic appearance, and serologic testing.
Although this devastating disease is rare, lack of effective treatment and the widespread distribution of raccoons in close association with humans make baylisascariasis a disease that seriously affects public health (3).
A ubiquitous parasite of raccoons, Baylisascaris procyonis causes a widely recognized emerging zoonosis, baylisascariasis (3).
Treatment with albendazole after egg ingestion but before the onset of symptoms can prevent development of clinical baylisascariasis (2,10).
Although human baylisascariasis appears to be rare, the devastating neurologic disease caused by this infection and the lack of effective treatment make it a disease of public health importance (3).
While California has reported more cases of baylisascariasis than any other state, few published studies have reported on the distribution and prevalence of this helminth in the region.
A key feature of the epidemiology of baylisascariasis is the behavior of raccoons.
Human baylisascariasis is probably underrecognized, and the full spectrum of clinical illness is unclear.