Methods: Six soil samples (2 cups each) were obtained from six different parks, for a total of 36 samples. Two table spoons of dried/sifted soil were added to a glass, covered with 1/4 cup of a sugar floatation solution, stirred for 30 seconds, and let sit for 1 hour. The supernatant was transferred to a 20 mL plastic tube, capped, and let sit overnight. Three drops of surface fluid were placed on a glass slide and examined at 400X total magnification. The number of Toxocara eggs from a full grid search of the cover slip area was recorded.
Results: Overall, 35 of 36 samples tested positive for Toxocara eggs. The parks and samples varied in their levels of contamination of Toxocara eggs; smallest samples (0 & 2 eggs) from Sanatoga Park and largest samples from Pottstown Memorial Park [52 eggs - picnic pavilion] and Heather Place Park [56 eggs - tree grove]. The average number of eggs from Sanatoga Park (2.5 eggs [95% CI: 1.0, 4.0]), Gerald Richards Park (4.0 eggs [95% CI: 3.8, 6.2]), and Althouse Arboretum (4.7 eggs [95% CI: 3.3, 6.1]) were significantly lower than Manderach Park (11.7 eggs [95% CI: 9.6, 13.8]). Sanatoga, Gerald Richards, and Heather Place had similar average number of eggs (χ2=3.97 < 5.99). Pottstown Memorial Park (18.2 eggs [95% CI: 4.1, 32.1]) and Heather Place Park (18.5 eggs [95% CI: 3.5, 23.5]) had the highest averages; both parks had very similar average number of eggs (χ2=0.02 < 3.84).
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that Toxocara eggs could be found in every park that was tested. The number of eggs per sampled varied greatly; highest amounts in areas that could contain food droppings (e.g. picnic area) or potential bathrooms for dogs (e.g. tree grove). Some parks were significantly less infected with an average number of Toxocara eggs than other parks.
D. Stek, None