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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 17-20
Original Article

Parasite Contamination of Sand and Soil from Daycare Sandboxes and Play Areas

Theresa W Gyorkos,1,2,3,4 Evelyne Kokoskin-Nelson,2 J Dick MacLean,1,3 and Julio C Soto1,3,4

1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
2Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
3McGill University Centre for Tropical Diseases, Montreal General Hospital, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
4Département de Médecine préventive, Hôpital Saint-Luc, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Received 23 February 1993; Accepted 14 April 1993

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives: To determine if there was parasite contamination in the sand and soil in daycare sandboxes and play areas, with the goal of developing practice guidelines for their management.

Methods: One hundred samples of sand and soil from 10 daycare centres in different regions of the province of Quebec, collected between April 22 and May 6, 1991, were examined.

Results: Toxocara eggs were found in both surface and subsurface sand from two Montreal centres and co-occurred with Ascaris species (surface sand) in one centre and with hookworm (surface soil) in the second. Hookworm eggs were also recovered from one centre in the Quebec City region.

Conclusions: These results document the presence of potentially pathogenic helminth parasites in the daycare environment. Evidence from the literature regarding the health risk to children is insufficient and highlights the need for further research into the assessment of the risk of human infection and morbidity, the viability of these parasites under different environmental conditions and practical issues related to the management of sand and soil.