Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 28, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The parasitic nematode Trichinella spiralis has a cosmopolitan distribution in carnivorous and omnivorous mammals, but is most commonly associated with pork. While processed pork products are treated to inactivate trichinae in the U.S., no inspection is performed for trichinae in fresh product. The first step in establishing a program to verify the production of trichinae free pork is to validate the tools and knowledge needed. An initial study, called the Northeast Regional Trichinae Project (NRTP) was conducted to evaluate an ELISA test for detecting trichinae infected pigs and establish risk factors for transmission of trichinae to pigs. In this study, the seroprevalence rates for pigs were 0.41% in New England states and 0.19% in New Jersey (0.32% combined). The association of risks with seropositive farms demonstrated the importance of exposure of pigs to rodents and wildlife in the epidemiology of trichinellosis. In this initial study, we found that both the incidence and infection intensity of trichinae had eclined dramatically in the last ten years in regions where infection is endemic in domestic pigs. In a second study, the Iowa Certification Pilot, 250,000 pigs are being tested at slaughter by ELISA and digestion testing methods to acquire baseline information on infection. At the same time, 250-300 producers of these pigs are participating in farm audits which will document the presence or absence of risk factors for transmission of trichinae. At the conclusion of the study, testing results will be correlated with absence of risk factors. It is anticipated that this study will result in a system for documenting the presence or absence of risk factors on farm, a framework for monitoring the product of these production practices and the administrative needs for conducting certification.