TOXOCARA (Toxocariasis, Visceral Larva Migrans)
(Toxocariasis, Visceral Larva Migrans)
DESCRIPTIONToxocara is a disorder resulting from invasion of larvae of worms normally found in the intestines of dogs and cats. These same larvae cause a skin disease (larva migrans or creeping eruption) if they invade no deeper than the skin. If they invade deeper tissues of humans they may affect many organs, including the eye, liver, lungs, and heart, and the central nervous system. Toxocara may affect older children and adults, but it normally affects young children aged 2 to 4. The incubation period inside the human body varies from weeks to months after ingesting the larvae. This disease is not contagious from one infected child to another.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSLoss of appetite.
Cough or wheezing.
Eye lesions and vision problems.
The embryonated eggs of Toxocara canis and cati, parasites found in soil contaminated by the feces of dogs and cats.
RISK FACTORSPlaying in children's sandboxes.
Owning a dog or cat.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should avoid areas likely to be contaminated by dog and cat feces.
Deworm pet dogs and cats regularly.
Cover your child's sandbox when not in use.
Your child should always wash hands after playing with animals.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Skin test, blood test for eosinophiles, liver biopsy, and fluorescent antibody tests.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSerious complications if the child's liver, heart, or eye are involved.
Complete cure. Self-limited (6 to 18 months) for mild cases. Appropriate treatment results in a quicker cure.
Employ preventive measures to keep your child from getting re-infected.
Give your child the prescribed medication as directed.
MEDICATIONYour physician may prescribe a special anti-parasite drug such as thiabendazole.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
ACTIVITYIf actively infected, your child should keep away from all animals and potentially contaminated areas for a minimum of 6 months.
Otherwise, no restrictions.
DIET & FLUIDS
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when condition and sense of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of toxocara.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.