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Tapeworm could jump to humans with potentially deadly consequences, veterinarian warns

Saskatoon veterinarian says "there's a very good chance" Saskatchewan could see human cases of a potentially lethal tapeworm in the foreseeable future. About one-quarter of wild dogs in North America are infected with Echinococcus multilocularis. Pet dogs exposed to infected coyote feces can become infected and possibly infect their owners as well.Humans can inadvertently consume tapeworm eggs if they handle the excrement of infected dogs and then touch their own food, or if they eat things — such as berries, mushrooms or herbs — that are contaminated by infected dog or cat droppings.If that happens, tapeworm cysts can spread throughout the person’s liver and other organs like a tumour.Emily Jenkins, a professor of veterinary parasitology and public health at the University of Saskatchewan, said unless the disease is identified and treated quickly, the mortality rate is between 50 and 75 per cent. Treatment involves surgery to remove the cysts and years of drug therapy.

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The Star Phoenix