A new parasite found in yard waste called, baylisascaris procyonis is contaminating your garden or your trash can. This new-found parasite is found in raccoon roundworms.
Sara Weinstein, a former UCSB doctoral student states, "If you see a raccoon in Santa Barbara, chances are that it's full of roundworms." This remains true throughout the United States. Raccoons are infecting "more than previously assumed."
UCSB researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see if human infections were being undetected. The study led by Weinstein found that 7 percent of the 150 blood samples taken by Santa Barabara residents contained raccoon roundworm antibodies.
What does this mean for these people?
Kevin Lafferty, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher, explains: "These common--but undetected--infections have unknown health effects in people."
Weinstein claims these parasites cannot be killed by soap, alcohol, or bleach. The roundworms can cause an infection called baylisascariasis, which can cause blindness or brain damage. Outdoor pets can also become victim to these harmful parasites as well.
Wildlife researchers know to take these precautions, and no researcher in the study contained any raccoon roundworms antibodies in their blood.
Weinstein warns citizens to keep their trash and animal's food secured. People should avoid raccoons and their feces at all costs.
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