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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MOLECULAR SYSTEMATICS AND COMPARATIVE POPULATION GENETICS OF PARASITIC ORGANISMS THAT THREATEN FOOD SAFETY AND SECURITY Title: Molecular Detection of Sarcocystis

Author
item Rosenthal, Benjamin

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2009
Publication Date: August 3, 2009
Citation: Rosenthal, B.M. 2009. Sarcocystis. In: Liu.,D., editor. Molecular Detection of Sarcocystis. Boca Raton, Florida; CRC Press. p. 731-739.

Interpretive Summary: When people eat undercooked beef or pork containing viable Sarcocystis hominis or Sarcocystis suihominis, they can contract acute gastro-intestinal infections that culminate, about two weeks later, with the excretion of parasites infectious for cattle or swine, respectively. Molecular methods can play a valuable diagnostic role, because neither the sarcocysts (in tissues) nor the oocysts (in feces) are easily distinguished from a large number of other, related parasite species. Other parasites which pose no known risk to human health also form sarcocysts in cattle and swine; and human feces may contain the morphologically similar oocysts of other parasite species. Genetic characterization provides a valuable means to diagnose such infections and can helps identify a given infection's source. The methods to do so are reviewed here.

Technical Abstract: When people eat undercooked beef or pork containing viable Sarcocystis hominis or Sarcocystis suihominis, they can contract acute gastro-intestinal infections that culminate, about two weeks later, with the excretion of parasites infectious for cattle or swine, respectively. Molecular methods can play a valuable diagnostic role, because neither the sarcocysts (in tissues) nor the oocysts (in feces) are easily distinguished from a large number of other, related parasite species. Other parasites which pose no known risk to human health also form sarcocysts in cattle and swine; and human feces may contain the morphologically similar oocysts of other parasite species. Genetic characterization provides a valuable means to diagnose such infections and can helps identify a given infection's source. The methods to do so are reviewed here.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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