Toxocariasis: A Review for Pediatricians

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2014 Jun;3(2):154-9. doi: 10.1093/jpids/pit066. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


Toxocariasis is a parasitic disease caused by roundworms of cats and dogs. The disease is endemic throughout the United States and causes significant morbidity in children, including damage to the lungs, liver, or central nervous system, especially the eyes. Two well established clinical syndromes of disease include visceral and ocular toxocariasis. Symptoms of visceral toxocariasis include abdominal pain, cough, or wheezing. Vision loss or strabismus are common symptoms of ocular toxocariasis. Serologic testing for presence of Toxocara antibody is available, although a positive test result does not necessarily correlate with active clinical infection. Albendazole or mebendazole is the recommended treatment for visceral toxocariasis. Treatment options for ocular toxocariasis include corticosteroids or ophthalmic surgery; anthelminthic medications also may be used. Risk for toxocariasis can be reduced by handwashing after soil contact, routine pets deworming, discouraging geophagia, and appropriate disposal of pet feces.

Keywords: Toxocara; parasite; toxocariasis.

Publication types

  • Review