Investigating causes of disease in raccoons and raccoon dogs

Raccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and raccoon dogs (Procyon lotor) in Europe are growing in number and increasing their range. Both species can carry pathogens that can cause disease in humans.


Recently published research from Austria in which eight raccoons and 10 raccoon dogs were studied, showed that these animals carried barely any pathogens. The giant roundworm parasites, Baylisascaris procyonis, which occasionally cause serious disease in humans, were not found.  In the 10 raccoon dogs investigated, one was infected with fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) and three others with the flatworm parasite Alaria alata. Five of the eight raccoon dogs tested for the presence of the bacteria Babesia cf. Microti were positive while Trichinella sp. were not found.

The Netherlands

In comparison to the Austrian findings, more pathogens were detetected in raccoons and raccoon dogs in the Netherlands: Trichinella was found in one of the nine raccoon dogs investigated in 2014-2015 and one animal was infected with Echinococcus multilocularis. In addition, the raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis was found in two racoons that were submitted to the DWHC at the end of 2014. A new study was set-up in 2016 and up until 2017, three of the six raccoon dogs tested were positive for A. Alata but Trichinella and Echinococcus multilocularis were not found. One of the three raccoons tested over the same period was positive for the raccoon roundworm, B. procyonis.

Help us by reporting finding a dead raccoon or raccoon dog

This research will be continued until the end of 2017: In order to help the project please report finding a dead raccoon dog via the DWHC Submission form or by calling the DWHC on 030 – 253 79 25. After submitting your form you will be contacted by the DWHC who will advise you on how to package the cadaver and arrange collection of the package from your home or place of work. You can find out more about how to package the cadaver on the FAQ page.