Baylisascaris procyonis is well recognized as a cause of visceral (VLM), ocular, and neural (NLM) larva migrans in birds and mammals, including man. A study of the prevalence of larva migrans in free-ranging wildlife associated with raccoon latrines as well as a retrospective study of wildlife mortalities with neurological disease was conducted in 2000 in Orange County, California. Eighty-seven birds of 18 species and 64 mammals of 8 species were found to have NLM or VLM or both. NLM clinical signs included convulsions, torticollis, opisthotonus, head-tilts, circling, ataxia, paralysis, and visual defects. NLM lesions were characterized by focally disseminated, frequently linear, “tracklike” areas of parenchymal degeneration with varying degrees of astrocytosis in the white matter of the cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord. Larvae were rarely found in these lesions but were rather isolated in the brain–spinal cord parenchyma. At least 1 larva was isolated by digestion from each case of NLM and identified as Baylisascaris sp., most likely B. procyonis. VLM lesions consisted of granulomatous reactions surrounding intact or degenerative larvae in the parenchyma of the liver, kidney, diaphragm, and, occasionally, the lymph nodes. This report broadens the range of species of wild birds and mammals that have been found to be susceptible to larva migrans caused by B. procyonis and reaffirms the importance of raccoon latrine sites as contaminative foci for wildlife.
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