Date of this Version
Baylisascaris procyonis, or the raccoon roundworm, primarily utilizes the raccoon as its definitive host, and has been found in >90 species of North American animal intermediate hosts (mostly birds, lagomorphs, and rodents) (Kazacos 2001). In non-raccoon hosts, including humans, larvae of this parasitic nematode can cause severe neurological disease (cerebrospinal nematodiasis) and often damage visceral and ocular tissues (Kazacos 2001). Formerly, B. procyonis was not thought to occur in Texas (Chandler 1942; Schaffer et al. 1981). However, it was recently discovered in raccoons occurring in moist environments of coastal areas (Kerr et al. 1997) and in eastern portions of the state where infection rates of 70% and 23%, respectively, were reported. It is believed that B. procyonis is not common in semi-arid, hot environments and is probably limited by soil types and low raccoon densities (Amundson & Marquenske 1986). The purpose of this note is to report B. procyonis presence in raccoons from a previously unstudied and semi-arid region of Texas.