The NYC Department of Health is warning parents to be on alert for raccoon roundworm, after a Brooklyn infant and a teenager contracted the disease. The baby has permanent brain damage and the teen has lost sight in one eye.
The infection is caused by coming in contact with feces from an infected raccoon. The intestinal roundworm develops in a raccoon intestine, and lays millions of eggs that are then passed through the raccoon. The eggs can survive for years. Young children are potentially at a higher risk, because they spend time outdoors and may put dirty fingers in their mouths.
Symptoms of raccoon roundworm can include nausea, fatigue, lack of coordination, loss of muscle control and blindness.
Suspected cases should be reported to the New York City Department of Health at 212-788-9830. After hours, contact the Poison Control Center at 212-764-7667.