Urban Fox Control
The urban fox can carry a range of diseases.
Urban Foxes may pose a danger to you, your
family, your pets or who ever your are
responsible from disease transmission.
Pest - Go can offer advice on legal fox control
Urban foxes live in very close proximity to each
other; unlike their 'country cousins' which is
a key factor explaining why disease is easily
spread amongst urban foxes; especially mange.
Foxes and Disease
As foxes can harbour many of the contagious diseases which
is why moving foxes from one area to another is not
appropriate in terms of disease management or animal
The translocation of urban foxes (moving from one area to
another) is not humane, more cruel.
Most urban foxes have a variety of fleas and ticks but the most common
disease which foxes are likely to transmit to man is toxocariasis.
This is caused by a parasitic roundworm in the fox, toxocara canis, which
can cause blindness in young children.
Young children would be more at risk of picking up roundworm eggs due to
immature personal hygiene and placing objects or dirty fingers in their
The roundworm is excreted in the faeces and may be ingested by a child
who comes into contact with this.
Fox faeces should be removed and it must be ensured that children wash
their hands before they eat.
Foxes carry many diseases that can infect both native wildlife and domestic
animals (and particularly dogs), including hydatids, distemper, lung worm,
parvovirus, canine hepatitis, heart worm, lung worm and sarcopic mange.
In Europe, the fox is a major carrier of rabies.
Should rabies ever be introduced into Great Britain, foxes would play a key
role in its spread and make the control of this disease very difficult.
Toxocarosis, Visceral larva migrans, Ocular larva migrans, Covert
toxocariasis, Toxocara canis,Toxocara catis.
Human toxocariasis is a helminthozoonosis caused by migration of
Toxocara larvae through human tissues.
The usual pathogen is Toxocara canis, which is a gut nematode
(roundworm) similar to the human parasite Ascaris lumbricoides.
Its primary hosts are foxes, dogs and cats.
Humans are an incidental host and do not form part of the worm's life cycle.
The commonest route of infestation in foxes or dogs is transplacental,
leading to a high presence of the pathogen amongst young cubs or
Despite cases of illness due to T. catis (which can be difficult to distinguish
from T. canis as they share many common antigens), the importance of this
zoonosis has yet to be fully established.
Humans become infected by ingestion of eggs in soil contaminated by fox
or dog faeces.
The appeal to young children of puppies, 'mouthing' of objects, and
immature hygiene behaviour put them at particular risk.
However, direct contact with the animal is not a route of infestation as it
takes two weeks for embryonisation of the shed ova.
Larvae hatch out in small intestine and migrate via liver and lungs to other
tissues, though they never mature in humans.
In most cases the larvae is probably eliminated, but in some a surrounding
granuloma may form.
Rarely, T. catis can mature in humans and be transmitted by vomit or
However generally patients with adult T. catis don't have antecedent
symptoms, eosinophilia, or antibodies, suggesting that they are acquired
by ingestion of adult worms or advanced larval stages from cat vomit or
Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis)
Foxes can also contract Leptospirosis and transmit where disease causing
bacteria via their urine which can be transmitted to humans.
This disease is often over-looked by dog owner's as this infection can
easily be transmitted to pet dogs.
Domestic pets can be vaccinated against Leptospirosis and lungworm.
Please consult your Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Nurse for advise.
The term Hydatid disease describes infection with the larval stage of the
cestode (or tapeworm) Echinococcus spp.
There are 4 known species of which 3 are of medical importance to
Echinococcus granulosus, causing cystic echinococcosis (CE) - most
common of the three.
Echinococcus multilocularis, causing alveolar echinococcosis (AE) -
rare but is the most virulent.
Echinococcus vogeli, causing polycystic echinococcosis - very rare.
Transmission is from eggs found in faeces of fox and accidentally
swallowed, usually by children.
Larvae develop over many years to form fluid-filled cysts in various organs,
particularly the liver.
Cysts can grow to considerable size and contain a large amount of fluid
and vast numbers of infectious scolices.
Foxes and Sarcopic Mange
Sarcoptic Mange Mites are tiny arachnids (cousins of ticks and spiders) that
are parasites of mammals.
They cause the disease known as "mange" or "scabies."
These mites are tiny, only 1/64 of an inch long. They are pearly white in
color and oval-shaped.
They have spines on their bodies and legs. They have no eyes.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites spend their entire life on their hosts.
The host is the animal that the mite lives on.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites are parasites of squirrels, rabbits, foxes, dogs,
humans, and many other mammals.
Scarcoptic Mange Mites use small suckers on their legs to hold onto their
After mating, female mites burrow into the skin of the host. They use their
jaws and front legs to cut the skin.
They mites tunnel in the top layer of the skin only.
Inside the burrow, the female will lay eggs. She lays two or three eggs each
day, for up to two months.
Mite larvae hatch from the eggs in three or four days.
They immediately crawl out of the burrow onto the surface of the skin.
The will stay here, using the host's hair as shelter.
Both larvae and adult mites eat skin cells from their hosts.
Once a larva has eaten enough, it will molt (shed its skin).
After it molts twice, it has become an adult.
Adult mange mites mate on the surface of the host's skin.
The disease caused by these mites, called "mange" or "scabies," starts
with a substance from the mites' bodies.
This substance causes an allergic reaction in the host's skin, and it
becomes very itchy.
When the host scratches itself, it makes wounds that become infected by
The scratching also causes hair to fall out and animals with mange will
often have bald patches.
Animals with mange sometimes suffer weight-loss, since they are so
uncomfortable and may not be able to find food as well.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites spread when the host comes into contact with
Ticks easily attach themselves to foxes and can easily drop off and re-
attach themselves to pets and humans alike.
Ticks are capable of transmitting various disease causing pathogens,
viruses and bacteria.
If foxes are present, so may ticks.