Raccoon droppings may have led to rare infection in King Co. toddler

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SEATTLE — A King County toddler may have contracted Baylisascaris , a rare and severe infection. So rare in fact that there have been only 29 cases reported in the United States since 1973, and this is the first ever in Washington State.

It’s linked to raccoon roundworms and humans can become infected if they inadvertently swallow dirt or other material contaminated with raccoon droppings.

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Signs of infection include nausea, tiredness, blindness or even coma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands after working or playing in the dirt and stay away from areas frequented by raccoons.

A full list of symptoms and prevention of Baylisascaris can be found on the CDC website.

The toddler was hospitalized but is now recovering at home.

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