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Baylisascaris Infection (Roundworm)

Baylisascaris worms are parasites* found in the stomach of some animals. Baylisascaris procyonis is found in raccoons and Baylisascaris columnaris is found in skunks. However, Baylisascaris procyonis - “raccoon roundworm” is a greater risk because raccoons come closer to humans.


How can I get sick? 

  • Baylisascaris worms and their eggs can be found in racoon poop. People can accidently swallow parasite* eggs that are in the water, dirt, or things that a racoon has pooped on.  

Symptoms in humans:  

Symptoms depend on how many eggs are swallowed and where the worms travel in the body. If a person only swallows one or two eggs, they won’t get very sick but if they swallow a lot of eggs, they can become very sick. 

  • Feeling like you need to throw up 
  • Feeling tired  
  • Tripping or falling a lot 
  • Not being able to control your arms or legs 
  • Blindness 
  • Coma (deep unconscious sleep)

 What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Stay away from racoons and their poop.  
  • Properly wash your hands after working or playing outside.  
    • Proper Handwashing Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel. 


  • Do not keep or feed wild animals, such as racoons.  
    • Racoons don’t usually show signs they are sick, so it is hard to know if they are sick or not.  
  • Try to keep racoons away from your home. 
    • Do not keep food where racoons can get it.  
      • Including bird feeders and pet food. 
    • Trash cans should be tightly closed. 
    • Keep sandboxes covered when you’re not using them so racoons can’t poop in them.  
    • Remove water sources for racoons. 
      • Including fishponds which they can use for food and water. 
    • Make sure racoons can’t get into attics or basements.  


  • Parasite: A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, called a host. Parasites can cause diseases in humans or animals.

Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.