Costa Rican Children are Contracting Eye Worms Due to Negligent Pet Owners

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    A condition called ocular toxocariasis (colloquially, “eye worms”) is transmitted by a worm-shaped parasite found in the feces of infected dogs and can enter the bodies of people when infected feces comes into contact with the mouth.

    This parasite remains in the stool. If children playing in a yard or park come into contact with it, their fingers can then allow mouth contact and the parasite enters the body.

    Ophthalmologist Joaquín Martínez explained that from the body it moves to the eyes, where it causes a granuloma and retinal detachment.

    94% of children infected with the parasite lose vision in the affected eye. Recommendations for parents is to increase health measures at home and look after the health of pets.

    The National University’s (UNA) School of Veterninaria has issued a warning to all dog owners to pick up after their pets feces in parks and public roads and regularly deworm their pets.

    Hospitals receives between 6-7 cases per year of sick children with toxocariasis, with symptoms such as redness, eye deviation, photosensitivity or white pupils.

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