With clock ticking, doctors, pharmacists come to the rescue after 1-year-old


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

A southern Alberta couple who realized their infant had eaten raccoon feces found themselves racing against time to find a rare medication — and doctors and pharmacists across Western Canada mobilized to help them find it.

Ashley Haughton learned raccoon scat can be extremely dangerous when she found it in her yard in Lethbridge, Alta., and researched how to dispose of it safely.

Raccoons can carry a deadly form of roundworm called Baylisascaris procyonis, and the eggs live in their feces.

An extremely rare parasitic infection can occur if humans ingest the eggs, which hatch into larvae, travel through the body and invade organs, including the eyes and brain.

And so when her one-year-old son ate raccoon feces from a flower pot in the garden just over four weeks ago, Haughton knew to be alarmed: Symptoms of the infection include brain damage, blindness and coma.

It can also be deadly.

“They go through the stomach barrier, they infest your body … and essentially eat you from the inside out,” Jon Martin, the boy’s father, told Calgary Eyeopener, a CBC Radio morning show, on Thursday.

“And if you don’t treat them quickly enough, there isn’t really a way to reverse the effects, because they’ve literally eaten your tissue.”

Health Canada gave special authorization

Martin and Haughton immediately called their family doctor and the province’s Poison & Drug Information Service.

Both advised the parents to wait and see if their son — whom they didn’t want to name in order to protect his privacy — developed symptoms of infection.

Instead, the parents sought to have the feces tested for roundworm, and their veterinarian confirmed the worst: The sample was infested with so many eggs and larvae that they were unable to count them all.

After rushing their son to a hospital emergency room, they were prescribed albendazole, which needs to be taken within three days of exposure.

Special authorization to write the prescription was given by Health Canada, as its manufacturer has not filed a drug submission in Canada, the department told CBC News.

This signalled the delays to come.

“We started calling around … to try and track it down and then soon realized that it wasn’t available commonly at all,” Martin said.

‘I couldn’t imagine being in that situation’

When Lethbridge pharmacist Bryce Barry got the call that Martin was looking for albendazole and why, he immediately understood the dire predicament.

“I’ve got young kids, and I couldn’t imagine being in that situation,” said Barry, who works at Shoppers Drug Mart in Park Place Mall.

But when he checked his suppliers, Barry realized he couldn’t bring in the medication to his pharmacy. And when he discovered it’s not commercially available in Canada, he started contacting his network.

Bryce Barry, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Lethbridge’s Park Place Mall, sprang into action when he got the call that Jon Martin needed albendazole for his son. Barry…

Read More: With clock ticking, doctors, pharmacists come to the rescue after 1-year-old

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x