Mother, 34, loses an eye 30 years after catching infection from dog mess in a park
10:36 GMT, 6 December 2012
A mother has lost her eye 30 years after catching a toxic infection caused by dog faeces when she was just four.
Nadine Nash, 34, had to have her eye removed and replaced with a prosthetic after spending ten years in agony as her sight deteriorated because of the virulent infection.
She was diagnosed with the rare condition toxocariasis, which is is caused by ingesting a parasite found in dog, cat or fox faeces, when she was a primary school pupil.
Nadine Nash is running the London Marathon next year to raise money for a blind charity
If the parasite's worms spread to the eye, as in Nadine's case, they can cause permanent damage.
Nadine, of Romford, said: 'I don't know exactly how I caught it, but I believe it was when I was out in a park.'
The mother had to have her eye removed earlier this year – and is now trying to alert owners to the dangers of not clearing up after their pets.
Heroic Mrs Nash is also running the London Marathon next year to raise money for a blind charity.
If the parasite's worms spread to the eye they can cause permanent damage
Nadine said children are particularly
at risk because they will often touch any object out of curiosity and do
not always wash their hands afterwards.
She said: 'It's a rare infection, but it was even rarer in those days.
'I lost a lot of sight in one eye, I was in hospital and then had to have regular check-ups,' said the mother-of-two.
'For about 20 years I didn't have any problems, but about 10 years ago I started getting really bad glaucoma.'
Nadine, who used to work for an accountancy firm, had to have a string of operations on her eye.
Yet none of them made a significant difference and her sight continued to deteriorate over the years.
She said: 'In May I couldn't take it any more I was so ill from it and in so much pain.
'I couldn't move, I couldn't even get out of bed.
'I was begging the doctors to do something about it.
'I couldn't focus my other eye and I thought it was going wrong as well.'
Eventually, when doctors told her they were removing her eye earlier this year she said the decision 'was actually a relief'.
TOXOCARIASIS: A RARE, BUT DEVASTATING, CONDITION
Toxocariasis is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites (Toxocara). It is spread from animals to humans via their infected faeces.
The roundworm parasites live in the digestive system of dogs, foxes and cats. The worms can range from 4cm to 12cm in length.
The worms produce eggs, which are released in the faeces of infected animals and contaminate soil.
If someone ingests even just small particles of contaminated soil, they may develop toxocariasis – which can cause blindness, but usually only affects one eye.
The condition is rare in this country.
The NHS says that a researcher estimated that there are around 50 -100 cases of the ocular form of the condition each year in the UK.
There are three main types of toxocariasis covert toxocariasis, visceral larva migrans, ocular larva migrans.
All three strains of toxocariasis can be treated with a medication called an anthelminthic.
'At one point, unable to focus
properly with my remaining eye and in extreme pain, I was so ill I could
not get out of bed,' she said.
'Four months later I received my prosthetic eye and I knew I faced a decision.
'Either I cry into my pillow for the rest
of my life at the sheer injustice of it all or I get tough and channel
my frustration, anger and relief in to something positive.
But courageous Nadine has refused to be beaten by the infection.
She said: 'I am lucky.'
'I have perfect vision in my remaining eye.
'I can still see the beautiful smiles on my children's faces.
'I appreciate the beauty that surrounds me more than most.'
Nadine was inspired to tell her story after reading that the cleaning up of dog mess was being encouraged in Romford.
'Just walking around you see a lot of it. I don't think people realise how much of a health risk it is,' she warned.
'If another child were to get the infection it would be terrible because it can be avoided if people just pick up after their dogs.'
Nadine is now training to run the gruelling London Marathon in April to boost Guide Dogs for the Blind.
'People wouldn't really expect me to be run a marathon – there was a time when I was so ill that I couldn't even get out of bed,' she said.
To sponsor Nadine visit: www.justgiving.com/Nadine-Nash