Race against time

Pharmacists come to the rescue after one year old eats deadly raccoon faeces

A couple from Southern Alberta, Canada found themselves “racing against time” after realising their infant had eaten raccoon faeces, reports Hannah Kost from CBC News.

The infant’s mum knew that raccoons can carry a deadly form of roundworm which can cause an extremely rare parasitic infection if humans ingest the eggs.

Symptoms of the infection include brain damage, blindness and coma.

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

However his parents soon realised that the drug wasn’t commonly available as its manufacturer had not filed a drug submission in Canada. Health Canada had to give special authorisation for the script to be written.

Pharmacist Bryce Barry received a call from the infant’s dad looking for albendazole.

But when he checked his suppliers, Mr Barry realised he couldn’t bring in the medication to his pharmacy. And when he discovered the drug is not commercially available in Canada, he started contacting his network.

A compounder friend also realised they couldn’t do it, but CBC News reports that this friend instead contacted his pharmaceutical representative, who mass-emailed clients across Western Canada.

Script Pharmacy in Calgary responded.

It had not compounded the anti-parasitic formula in more than a decade, but it had the medication and the ingredients needed to make it.

“When we first got that email … my technician took it very seriously,” Script co-owner and pharmacist Aleem Datoo told CBC News.

However he said his team didn’t have full sense of just how serious the situation was until a few weeks later, when it was verified that the faeces ingested by the infant did indeed have the deadly parasite.

“That’s when we really fully appreciated what had been done — but on our end, it had been a total team effort,” said Mr Datoo.

Fifty-six hours after ingesting the raccoon faeces, the infant received his first dose of albendazole.

He is now outside the four-week window for symptoms of infection to appear and according to his parents seems just fine.

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