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How likely is roundworm infection from cat?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Decided to start a new thread specifically on this as plain old worm threads are often sparse in info on this. So I found what is most likely a roundworm in my cat's litterbox tonight. What are the chances of a human contracting roundworm from a housecat? (Keeping in mind that the litter area isn't always kept immaculate, heavy physical contact occurs with cat, etc- what I would call "normal" interaction with cat and the cat's environment)

I found alot of stuff online talking about roundworm infection, but none on the likelihood of infection or the chances of getting it from a cat that is infected. Anyone know any good info on this?
post #2 of 7
Just practice good hygiene, scrub out your litterpans daily and dispose of the litter until you get your cat treated, and you should be fine.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Forgive my paranoia, but I was wondering if anyone knew anymore info about actual chances of infection from a contaminated environment. I understand this can be a common infection in third world and rural countries, but obviously this is not the case here. Tonight I will be cleaning the litterpan and area around it as well as I can, but since I just noticed this problem I figure my cat (and thusly my apt) could have been contaminated for a while. Unfortunately, my apt is small, carpeted, and my kitty digs quite a bit in the litter- stuff gets tracked everywhere whether I like it or not since the litterbox is in a rather high traffic area. Unfortunately my vaccum broke a few weeks back and I have not been able to do any really good vacuuming, although I have used the vacuum hose to suck up as much litter as I can around the box every week or so. Also, I admit I am not a chronic hand washer, and I don't wash my hands after every contact with my cat. Obviously, until I get him treated I will be a bit more careful.

So anyways- can anyone give me any info on actual infection? Obviously I will be asking my vet, but quite frankly I don't like the idea of a worm inection in my cat, much less me, and I am afraid that if it can be passed, there is a chance it has happened long before I knew of the problem.

Comments? Reassurances?
post #4 of 7
Sorry I cant be of any help iceover but just wanted to let you know that I have been wondering the same thing. Just how likely are people to get it from cats???

I'm not huge on cleaning either. Its not awful but its not spotless either. I do a good job of washing my hands too so I don't think thats a problem. But one of my cats, and probably all of them, have roundworms. They were all treated for worms already and so I wasnt thinking much of it till I saw one. So they are being treated again. Problem is sometimes they drink out of my glass. If I catch them I wont drink out of my glass and will get a new one but I'm sure I don't always catch them and have had a drink after them. So the last couple of nights i've been wondering about how good of a chance there is that I'm going to get it too. I'm pretty creeped out at the thought. So you arent alone. If I find out any specifics I'll let you know.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've been looking around. Still, there are so few specifics- i can't decide if this is good or bad. A few thing si have learned:

-you need to ingest roundworm eggs from cats and dogs; mostly occurs from eating contaminated soil/litter, which mostly occurs from getting dirty hands in mouth

-roundworm eggs need to incubate, i guess mostly in soil or litterboxes- this is good cause I think you have to be a dummy not to at least wash your hands after cleaning a box if nothing else- but I am not sure how this applies to tracked litter which is in abundance in my small apt

-mostly children of young ages get roundworm in the US/develped countries- they get it from eating dirt or playing sandbox or dirt and then getting fingers in mouth- although anyone can be infected

-if infected, in most healthy adults the infections are slight at worst; very treatable with drugs too; the complications arise mostly because so many cases are asymptomatic until an infection and complications occur (see next paragraph)

-that said, there are some rare bad complications: apparently roundworms spread by cats and dogs don't (or mostly don't) actually become worms in humans, they remain larvae, but can infect major organs like lungs, brain, and the most frequently noticed, the eye, where an infection can develop that causes partial loss of eyesight; again, that said, the strain of roundworm from dogs is far more prevalent in the eye cases than that of the cat strain (whose role is unproven mostly because, again, it is hard to isolate as a cause)

-prevention I guess is mostly good cleaning habits if you have an infected animal- clean often, disinfect, wash your hands (I intend on vacuuming and disinfecting litter box, washing bed linens just in case, and maybe even giving my cat a bit of a wash and of course getting him dewormed to prevent this in the future)

What gets me is I cannot find anything that says how likely infection is to occur in an infected environment- so this may mean the chances are pretty slim unless you are munching on bits of litter. There is more sort of vague info if you look around- keep in mind there are many many types of roundworm (and other worms) that are not present in pets, but rather in the enviroment (soil, dirt, etc) and raw meat, as well as other things people come in contact with regularly

I am hoping this means getting infected is pretty slight.
post #6 of 7
Hi there

some info on roundworms from the Johnson's site

There are numerous sources with information - but there are a number of cases in the US each year - sources estimate about 10,000 US cases of roundworm infection per year. The eggs hatch out in the host - and are taken into the host from contact with contaminated areas, this may be when cleaning out litter trays; through contact with plates that animals have licked, failure to wash hands after contact with animals etc and as you will see from the johnson's site, eggs can be picked up from furniture also. Therefore keeping animals wormed and observing good hygiene standards is very important to avoid infection.

The eggs are very small and so cannot easily be seen. Adult worms lay about 200 eggs per day inside the animal which are then passed out through the faeces.

Hope this helps
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks- that was a helpful site! Like it said, it looks like the dog strain of roundworm is more infectious and likely to create complications than the cat strain- although both are rare.

Still- i think i will be washing my hands a bit more obsessively for a while.
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