Q & A: Worm transmission

Q: How do worms transmit from animals to humans?

A: Transmission of worms from pets to people rarely occurs directly from pet to person. Roundworm and hookworm infection usually occur through the skin of a person (for example if you walk barefoot in a contaminated area), or if a person ingests soil contaminated with dog or cat faeces. In the same way dogs and cats get infected from eating raw meat, humans can become infected by eating undercooked meat. Roundworm eggs require at least a month in soil to develop to an infective stage, so if faeces are picked up regularly, the risk of contaminating the soil is minimal. Risk of infection with the dog or cat tapeworm is low, as a person only becomes infected if they swallow an infected flea.

Dr Vanessa McClure, veterinarian


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