Ask Dr Claire
New kitten the vet diagnosed with roundworm, what are the risks to children and dogs
Roundworms do pose a public health risk and especially to children largely due to how they play and to their hygiene (ie soil and sand eating!)
When a cat is infected with roundworm, the adult worms pass eggs which pass out in the cats poop. Eggs passed in fresh stools are actually not immediately infective. If this cat passes poop in a sand box for example and the child is playing there a couple of days later and put some sand with eggs in their mouth then they can themselves get the roundworm.
All-wormer tablets kill the adult worms, but not the larvae. Larvae will grow into adults who can pass eggs, so regular worming is critical, your kitten will need to be treated every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age at least, the monthly after that.
Best way to reduce the risk of transmission from infected cat to child includes:
- Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed poop
- Infected kitten best kept inside
- Poop needs to be removed quickly after they’re passed by the cat
- Litter tray is also cleaned regularly
- Hand washing after petting cat
- Wear gloves to remove poop and dispose of gloves
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