Raccoon Roundworm PANIC! Two Seriously Injured in Brooklyn
Swine flu hasn't killed anyone in New York yet -- but raccoon roundworm has left one teenager blind in one eye and brain-damaged an infant in Brooklyn. (The Daily News informs us "The disease had previously been incorrectly called Raccoon Ringworm.") This illness is transmitted by raccoon feces, and we've all seen that in the subways, haven't we? In case you don't know it by sight, here's a picture: "Fresh raccoon feces are dark and moist while old feces may look like dried leaves or debris," says Ask the Exterminator, which suggests that you use rubber glovers and a dust mask when handling it. The CDC says the illness is transmitted by eggs in the scat that, when ingested, travel to the liver, brain, spinal cord, and elsewhere, and can cause nausea, fatigue, liver enlargement, loss of muscle control, coma, blindness, and a plotline for an upcoming episode of House. The Brooklyn Paper sighted the critters in Greenwood Heights and Carroll Gardens (!) back in 2006, and traced the infestation to Coney Island and Bensonhurst, where a soft-hearted exterminator admitted he didn't have the heart to kill raccoons once he'd caught them. The Compassionate Action Institute previously advised us to "peacefully coexist" with raccoons and only worry about them when they're rabid, but now that we know their shit is lethal, it may be time to haul out the varmint guns. Photo (cc) Michael Sheltgen.