STRATEGIES FOR PARASITE CONTROL
Part of the mission of veterinarians worldwide has always been the protection of human health. For example, rabies control efforts and routine rabies vaccination of pets have greatly reduced the number of human rabies fatalities in the U.S. In the 1940’s over 5000 dogs died every year of this disease, and hundreds of people died too.
Between 1980 and 1996 only 32 people died of rabies in the U.S. and 12 of those contracted the disease in foreign countries. Although we don’t like to think of our pets as being harmful to our health, the disease can be spread from our companions and farm animals to us and vice versa. Tuberculosis, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, cat scratch fever, pink eye, toxoplasmosis, and ringworm are other examples. Keeping your pet safe and healthy protects your human family from disease. The most common problem spread from pets to people nowadays is intestinal parasites. Over 10,000 people, most of them children, are infected with dog or cat roundworms every year in the U.S. In the wrong host, the larvae of these worms get confused. Instead of ending up in the intestinal tract, some of them will migrate to the brain, eyes, liver, and other organs. Over 700 people suffer blindness or permanent visual impairment each year from these migrating larvae. Thousands of others develop brain, liver, skin, or gastrointestinal signs from roundworm, hookworm, and Giardia infections.