Panic is not the word that can begin to explain my feelings, my husband, Ravi, in record speed, bagged the feces and we headed to Sick Children Hospital.  Niam was given the rabies shots, 10 shots, and those needles are by no means small, the look of them scared me, he was a trooper, no one held him down, and he took it like a big boy. He was on abendezole for 20 days, to ensure if he had any contact with the eggs, and if there was a chance of hatching they would be killed.

My life consisted of sleepless nights, a child who experienced severe stomach aches, was sore and not well for weeks. He has been home with me since April 6 2016. What was scary for me, was I had just discovered my son’s artistic ability, and as a special needs child, visual is so important to him, in fact it is his whole life,  the idea this could cause blindness scared me to a point of no return. I relived a returning nightmare for weeks, What would I say to him when he would ask “Open My Eyes?”

Here are some facts you should know. Children and Special Needs Persons of all Ages are at greater risk.

Why Is Raccoon Feces Life Threatening ?
Raccoons are the primary host of Baylisascaris procyonis, a roundworm that can be harmful to people. Roundworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected raccoons, and people become infected by ingesting the eggs, either by swallowing or by licking something a raccoon has licked or even touching an item a raccoon has licked, and putting those hands in your mouth.

Not all raccoon feces are immediately infected, in the environment eggs take 2 to 4 weeks to become infectious. If you have raccoon feces on your property be careful when removing, it should be buried, burned or sent to a landfill. Be careful not to get it on your hands, surfaces can be treated with boiling water or a propane flame gun ( exercise proper precautions), the idea is to remove the feces before the eggs become infectious to reduce the risk , exposure and infection to people.

Raccoon should not be kept as pets and do not feed them.

It is important to learn how to hand wash your hands properly and teach your children to prevent numerous diseases. Be careful of parks and sandboxes. Young children, person with special needs are at higher risk, as they are more likely to explore or be attracted to items in the environment and put things in their mouth.

    Hand washing chart

What are the symptoms and signs of Baylisascaris infection?
The incubation period (time from exposure to symptoms) is usually 1 to 4 weeks. If present, signs and symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Liver enlargement
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lack of attention to people and surroundings
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Blindness
  • Coma

These are irreversible.

What should I do if I think I am infected with Baylisascaris?
Seek immediate help, do not wait, there is a very small window before eggs hatch. Your health care provider will ask you a number of questions to determine if you require medical attention. Baylisascarisinfection is difficult to diagnosis in humans. There are no widely available tests, so the diagnosis is often made by ruling out other diseases.

How is Baylisascaris infection treated?
A health care provider can discuss treatment options with you. No drug has been found to be completely effective against  Baylisascaris infection in people. Albendazole has been recommended for some cases.

If I have Baylisascaris infection, should my family members be tested for the infection?Baylisascaris infection is not contagious, so one person cannot give the infection to another. However, if your family may have been exposed the same way you were (such as contact with or exposure to an environment contaminated with raccoon or exotic pet feces), they should consult with a healthcare provider.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/baylisascaris/gen_info/faqs.html ( some of the above information, not my story, was copied from CDC, I did not want to rewrite or alter the information, do your own research this is really important for the safety of our children.)