Toxocariasis is an illness of humans caused by larvae (immature worms) of either the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), the cat roundworm (Toxocara cati) or the fox (Toxocara canis). Toxocariasis is often called visceral larva migrans (VLM).Adult worms of the Toxocara species live in the small intestine of dogs and puppies and range from 4-12 cm in length. Almost all puppies are infected at or soon after birth. During the summer, in wet conditions, Toxocara eggs are embryonated in 2-5 weeks and become infective. They survive for years in the environment, and humans typically ingest the eggs via oral contact with contaminated hands.
Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice in most patients with liver, lung, or eye involvement. Occasionally, ocular involvement requires ocular surgery.Treatment includes mebendazole, thiabendazole, corticosteroids, and specific organ treatment. The prognosis of toxocariasis is generally favorable.In the Ireland, about 145 cases of Toxocara infection are reported in humans each year. Almost 12% of the Ireland population is infected with Toxocara.