Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caring for dogs to reduce spread of parasite eggs harmful to humans

Date:
February 5, 2013
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
New research has shown that dogs act as a major source of the parasite egg, Toxocara, which can potentially contaminate the public environment and infect humans.

A Toxocara egg. Actual size approximately 0.06 mm
Credit: Image by Eric Morgan

The UK dog population is estimated to be around ten million, with dogs producing approximately 1,000 tonnes of excrement each day. New research has shown that dogs act as a major source of the parasite egg, Toxocara, which can potentially contaminate the public environment and infect humans.

The aim of the study, led by Dr Eric Morgan and colleagues from the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences and published in the international scientific journal, Veterinary Parasitology, was to identify where efforts to control the parasite should focus, in the interests of protecting public health.

The parasitic worm, called Toxocara, is a rare cause of disease in humans, responsible for occasional cases of abdominal pain, loss of sight, and potentially asthma and epilepsy. The link with dogs, host to the adult parasites, has long been accepted, but this study has shown that in spite of decades of efforts through worming and control of dog fouling, the parasite remains common in our pets and on our streets.

For the first time, relative contributions of dogs and the other hosts of the parasites, cats and foxes, are estimated, as well as total egg output, using data from Bristol. With the help of additional information from a previous study led by Vet School colleague, Dr Jane Murray, the researchers estimate that nearly four tonnes of dog waste are produced in Bristol each day and nearly 1,000 tonnes nationally.

Given that each adult female worm can lay 12,500 eggs or more per day, this equates to around 3.7 billion eggs shed per day within the city of Bristol, or a number close to the world's human population every two days.

Dr Eric Morgan, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology and senior author of the paper, said: "These results are not all that surprising but they are likely to differ widely between places. We provided a method for estimating different sources of contamination with Toxocara eggs anywhere in the world. This will hopefully help locally appropriate control measures to be put in place. The data also provides a baseline against which future changes can be measured, as we currently lack any good evidence of how effective steps such as anti-fouling legislation are in reducing egg load and human disease."

Regular worming, especially of younger dogs and continued efforts to promote removal of feces from public areas by dog owners are key to reducing the reservoir of infection for humans. For the public, the message is clear: bag it, bin it, and worm your dog.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E.R. Morgan, D. Azam, K. Pegler. Quantifying sources of environmental contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs. Veterinary Parasitology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.12.034

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Caring for dogs to reduce spread of parasite eggs harmful to humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205102106.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2013, February 5). Caring for dogs to reduce spread of parasite eggs harmful to humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205102106.htm
University of Bristol. "Caring for dogs to reduce spread of parasite eggs harmful to humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205102106.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins