Role of cats in human toxocarosis

<italic>Toxocara cati</italic>, the feline ascarid, is ubiquitous in domestic cats globally and is increasingly recognised as an important zoonotic species. In the definitive host, infections with the adult ascarid usually do not present any clinical signs; if clinical signs do appear, it is usually in kittens infected with <italic>T. cati</italic>, especially by the trans-mammary route. Diseases may include cachexia, a pot-bellied appearance, respiratory disorders, diarrhoea, vomiting, among other signs, and these may present as early as 3 weeks of age. However, infections with <italic>Toxocara</italic> spp. larvae in paratenic hosts (including humans and many other animals), can result in serious complications from the migration of larvae. Historically, there has been an assumption that <italic>Toxocara canis</italic> was the most likely cause of <italic>Toxocara</italic> spp.-related disease; while it is probably true that <italic>T. canis</italic> is responsible for the majority of infections, it is important that those caused by <italic>T. cati</italic> are accurately identified so that the contribution of this parasite to human disease can be established and then handled appropriately. Overall, the detection of infections in cats and the control of parasite stages in the environment are essential to minimise the infection risk to other animals or humans.

Pablo David Jimenez Castro -

Sarah GH Sapp -

Toxocara from a cat