Toxocarosis: Symptoms and Treatment

Toxocarosis — a common zoonotic disease (helminthiasis), which develops against the background of the entry into the human body of larva toxocaria. It is widespread among the citizens of Africa, Russia and England, often affects adults, but most often occurs in children under the age of 4 years. The prevalence of the disease in the regions of different countries is not clear, as it is not subject to compulsory registration, but doctors believe that people are simply not aware of the symptoms of toxocarosis in humans, so they do not know about the existence of parasites in their body.

Etiology of the disease

Sources of infection for humans are sick animals (mostly cats and dogs) that pollute the soil with the eggs of the pathogen that are excreted from the body with every act of defecation. Sick people do not tolerate toxocarias, because in their body toxocares (helminths that live in representatives of the cat and dog family) undergo an incomplete circle of development, that is, they do not form sexually mature individuals.

The most common is toxocarosis in children, because they play a lot on the ground, with animals and in the sand, and often eat unwashed fruits on which the toxocar eggs can settle. Adults are infected by household pathways in contact with sick domestic animals or during professional activities (at risk included veterinarians, dog trainers and diggers). Sometimes toxocarosis in adults occurs after eating poorly processed (in the thermal plan) meat obligate host, as well as after eating an infected liver lamb.

Mechanism of development of helminthiasis

The development of the disease in the human body begins with the ingestion of helminth eggs, from which larvae enter the intestine. Larvae toxocar quickly penetrate into the bloodstream, through which they are swiftly carried across all organs. Circulation through the circulatory system continues until they reach the vessels with a too narrow size (less than 0.02 mm), after which they settle in the tissues of the liver, myocardium, pancreas, eyes and so on. Toksokary can be in a «dormant» state for a while, and then they activate and continue to migrate. Migrating, they injure internal organs, leaving behind inflammations and hemorrhages. Since parasite larvae are capable of secreting a masking substance that protects them from antibodies from the immune system, the disease (without appropriate treatment) is characterized by a prolonged recurrent course and can develop in the human body for ten years.

Clinical picture of the disease

Such a disease, as toxocarosis, is difficult to identify, because its symptoms are not specific and very often, according to clinical signs, it resembles the development of other helminthiases. The intensity of clinical manifestations determines the rate of distribution of larvae along the host’s organism and the activity of its immune system. There are visceral (general or systemic) and ocular toxocariasis.

  • The visceral form of the disease is characterized by the development of recurrent fever (body temperature can not fall below 37 degrees within a few days) with profuse sweating and chills, weakness, itchy skin rashes. With the defeat of the lungs, the patient begins to worry about coughing with dry and wet wheezing (incidentally, the development of systemic toxocarias, the symptoms of which are associated with a lesion of the lung tissue, can very much resemble bronchitis or just a common cold). With further distribution of larvae, there is an increase in the liver, spleen, the appearance of abdominal pains, often accompanied by digestive disorders and flatulence. The lack of treatment can lead to the development of pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs). Visceral toxocariasis in children is more common than in adults, and boys are more likely to get sick (this is because they spend a lot of time in the ground).
  • Eye toxocarias occur when a small number of helminths enter the body (the exact mechanism of its development is unknown). Mostly Toksokara affects one eye. They cause inflammation of the iris and lens of the eye (uveitis), stimulate the appearance of symptoms of keratitis, cause an abscess of the eyeball or optic neuritis. Treatment of the ocular form of the disease should be immediate (folk remedies for drug therapy in this situation are practically not used), because its absence can provoke a complete loss of vision.

Toxocarosis can occur asymptomatically (this occurs if most of the toxocar is in a «sleeping state»), but the biochemical analysis of the patient’s blood shows the presence of an increased number of eosinophils.


To begin to treat toxocarosis (especially folk remedies) without a pre-determined diagnosis of a physician is prohibited. Diagnosis is carried out on the basis of oral questioning of the patient and drawing up a clinical picture of the disease, a blood test and a specific laboratory blood test to determine the presence of specific antibodies to toxocara larvae.

How to treat?

Modern methods of treating this disease can not be called perfect, since they give a positive effect at the first stages of its development, when helminth larvae still migrate through the body. Adult individuals, which affect internal organs and tissues, practically do not react to medication. Therapy includes the use of medicines and folk remedies, and is supervised by a doctor.

Drug Therapy

Medicamentous treatment of toxocarias in children and adults will be the same. Preparations for the choice of antiparasitic therapy are Tiabendazol, Vermox and Medamin. The duration of treatment is determined by the doctor (on average, the course lasts 4 weeks), during this time the patient periodically donates blood for tests to determine the level of aminotransferases. The eye form of the disease is treated with injections of «Depomedrola». In some cases, patients are shown surgical intervention.

Treatment with folk remedies

Therapy with folk remedies is carried out solely with the aim of stopping the symptoms of the disease and reducing the likelihood of the development of adverse reactions from the reception of pharmaceutical preparations. Folk therapy does not eliminate the cause of the disease, which means that it can not be treated with its help. The most popular are the following tools:

  1. enemas based on garlic broth — the head is boiled in a small amount of milk, and this mixture is used for small cleansing enemas (garlic has a bactericidal effect on pathogenic microorganisms, it weakens the protection of toxocar and makes drug treatment more effective)
  2. Oral tincture of tansy pies is very popular among the available traditional therapies, which effectively cures the symptoms of the disease and eliminates the side effects of certain pharmaceuticals (taken 2-4 times a day)
  3. oral ingestion of a mixture of honey and wormwood seeds before gives a good effect (this method of folk treatment is most often used in children).

Treatment of the disease with folk remedies should be controlled by a doctor, so you should not withhold information about taking any infusions or medicinal mixtures from it.

Lethal cases of toxocarosis are rare, but in the absence of competent therapy and massive damage to internal organs, this is possible. Prophylactic intake of antiparasitic drugs prescribed by a doctor, and compliance with personal hygiene rules reduce the risk of developing the disease to a minimum.