How to Properly Clean Raccoon Poop and Roundworm

A raccoon infestation can be a nuisance and also extremely dangerous. Not only can raccoons be vicious and are one of the most common carriers of rabies, but they’re also commonly infected with a parasite called roundworm, or Baylisascaris Procyonis. Symptoms of a Baylisascaris infection are often severe and it’s not unusual for cases to result in organ failure, coma, and even death.

That’s why it’s extremely important to take the proper precautions when cleaning up after an infestation, ensuring that all raccoon poop and raccoon poop-contaminated items are handled and disposed of properly.

In this guide, we’re highlighting the dangers of raccoon droppings and methods for safe and effective raccoon feces removal.

What Is Raccoon Roundworm?

Raccoon roundworm, also called Baylisascaris Procyonis, is a parasite that can infect a variety of animals, including humans. These worms develop to maturity in a raccoon’s intestine where they produce millions of tiny roundworm eggs that are passed through feces.

Released eggs take 2-4 weeks to become infectious to other animals and humans, are resistant to most environmental conditions, and, with adequate moisture levels, can survive for years.

While human infection is rare, it can be severe if the parasite invades the eyes, brain, or other organs. According to the CDC, Baylisascaris infection is most common in children, as they’re more likely to touch and ingest dirt that may contain infected animal waste.

Symptoms of infection depend on how many eggs are ingested and where in the body the larvae migrate. Once hatched inside the body, larvae cause illness when they travel through the liver, brain, spinal cord, or other critical organs.

Ingesting just a few eggs may cause few or no symptoms, but ingesting large numbers of eggs may lead to serious health complications.

Common symptoms of raccoon roundworm include:

  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Liver enlargement
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lack of attention to people and surroundings
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Coma
  • Blindness

Symptoms of infection may take a week or so to develop after exposure. Animals, such as dogs and cats, that become infected with Baylisascaris can develop similar symptoms or die due to infection.

How to Clean Up After a Raccoon Infestation

While there may be very few cases of Baylisascaris infection reported each year, it is believed to be frequently misdiagnosed. And since death is fairly common as the result of a Baylisascaris infection, extreme caution must be taken when cleaning up raccoon waste.

Restoration professionals or pest control personnel may be called out for this kind of job when the property owner notices odors from feces or discovers damage to the building. Raccoons can chew through walls, sheetrock, and support structures in a basement crawlspace or attic. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn while cleaning up raccoon latrines and droppings. This includes:

Before getting started, there are a couple of important reminders to note:

  • Most chemicals cannot kill roundworm eggs. Use boiling water or a propane torch to disinfect outdoor surfaces, as heat will kill the eggs instantly, according to the CDC.
  • Avoid using a propane torch indoors as it may cause a fire.
  • Always wash your hands with soap under warm, running water after handling raccoon droppings.

Steps for Cleaning Up After a Raccoon Infestation

  1. Set up a negative pressure containment zone around the affected area using a 6-mil poly sheeting and ZipWall® poles.
  2. For tips on setting up a containment zone with ZipWall® products, check out this blog article: How to Build a Containment Barrier.
  3. Measure the cubic feet of your containment zone and use a proper-sized air scrubber, optimally attaining 4-6 air exchanges per hour. Use the following formula to determine the appropriate size of air scrubber:
  4. Multiply the cubic feet of the containment zone by 4, then divide by 60 to get the cubic feet per minute (CFM) needed to obtain proper negative pressure.
  5. Install the air scrubber either inside or outside the containment area.
  6. If the HEPA air scrubber is inside the containment area, use lay flat ducting to duct the exhaust air outside the containment area. If the air scrubber is outside the containment area, use reinforced flexible ducting to duct the air from the containment area into the intake of your air scrubber.
  7. Using a ULV fogger, fog the area with MediClean® X‑590.
  8. Remove any gross contamination. All fecal matter should be burned, buried, or sent to a landfill immediately.
  9. Using a sponge and MediClean® Germicidal Cleaner Concentrate, Lemon Scent diluted at 8 oz per gallon of water, completely clean the area.

Important note: Always follow label directions and never mix products unless specified.

Can You Prevent a Raccoon Infestation?

Wild animals can be unpredictable. However, there are a few ways to lessen the chance of a raccoon infestation on a piece of property. After cleanup, advise homeowners to:

  • Secure all garbage cans
  • Remove any standing water on the property, including bird baths
  • Close off and seal access to basements and attics
  • Clear any brush or debris to stop raccoons from making a den

Staying Safe While Cleaning Raccoon Feces

Using proper PPE is critical when cleaning up raccoon latrines after an infestation. Jon-Don offers a range of safety gear and equipment to help keep you protected while handling roundworm-contaminated feces and objects.

Beyond having the right tools for the job, it’s critical to know safety procedures and regulations that will help protect your health when dealing with wild animal feces. Jon-Don offers a 4-day IICRC Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) Seminar that will teach you about important concepts and necessary safety procedures, including:

  • Building containment zones and decon chambers
  • Fecal exposure risks
  • Antimicrobial and disinfectant chemistry
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Documents and regulations (OSHA, EPA, ANSI, etc.)
  • And more

For upcoming classes and to register, visit the course page.

Need additional advice? Jon-Don offers free technical support to help make sure you’re using the right products and procedures when cleaning up raccoon poop and other animal infestations. To speak with one of our experts call 800-556-6366.

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