Practising good hygiene can help prevent toxocariasis.
Some things you can do are to:
- wash your hands well with soap and warm water after handling pets or coming into contact with sand or soil
- teach children to always wash their hands after playing with dogs or cats, after playing outdoors and before eating
- wash food that may have come into contact with soil
- try to avoid letting children play in areas where there's a lot of dog or cat faeces
- teach children it's dangerous to eat dirt or soil
Advice for pet owners
Parents and children should be aware of the dangers associated with puppies, kittens, and older dogs and cats.
Many puppies are infested with the roundworm parasites from birth, as a pregnant dog can pass the parasites to her puppies before they're born.
All dogs and cats require regular de-worming with anti-worm medicine. See your vet for regular check-ups and specific advice on how to treat your pet.
The parasite eggs responsible for toxocariasis can survive for many months in sand or soil, so all pet faeces should be collected and disposed of in the rubbish.
There's no immediate danger from fresh faeces, as the eggs only become infectious after a few weeks.
Pets should be kept away from children's sandpits, which should be covered when not in use.
Your pet's living area should be cleaned at least once a week.
Some areas within public parks in the UK have been set aside as designated dog-exercise areas. Dog owners should ensure their dogs use these areas to minimise the risk of other park users getting toxocariasis.