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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Other Foodborne Helminths

item Ortega-pierres, Guadalupe
item Perez-ponce De Leon, Gerardo
item Zarlenga, Dante

Submitted to: Guide to Foodborne Pathogens
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2013
Publication Date: 7/26/2014
Citation: Ortega-Pierres, G., Perez-Ponce De Leon, G., Zarlenga, D.S. 2013. Other Foodborne Helminths. In; Guide to Foodborne Pathogens, Second Edition. Labbe, G. and Garcia, S. (eds.) John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. pp329-351.

Interpretive Summary: Foodborne parasites have undoubtedly had an impact on human health throughout history. They are important from the standpoint of having a direct effect on the well-being of humans who almost universally consume animal meats as a source of protein and other nutrients. They also serve as an obstacle to countries where a high prevalence of zoonotic parasites in livestock may prevent commerce with countries where these parasites are rare. This book focuses on 4 major zoonotic pathogens Trichinella spp., Diphyllobothrium and two nematode parasites of the genera Gnathostoma and Anisakis. In particular, this presentation evaluates current and past information on the infection, epidemiology, morphological and genetic diagnosis, control, clinical manifestation and treatment of these pathogens and their associated disease states. This collection and interpretation of facts and data provides an important and valuable source of knowledge for teaching, as well as single source background information for scientists and clinicians to advance research on these pathogens.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between parasites and food safety has all but fallen off the radar in most developed countries with respect to consumer concern. Modern inspection methods coupled with the understanding and acknowledgment that commercially raised animals and properly prepared foods offer products to the consumer that pose minimal risk, are the main drivers of complacency. That being said, consumers incorrectly assume that organically raised foods equate to pathogen free foods. Clearly these are not mutually exclusive and indeed may be inversely related. The increase in free-ranged and hunted animals as food sources has thus resurrected interest in zoonotic parasites as a source of human infection worldwide. Equally important is the escalation of anthropogenic effects resulting in the unwanted and uncontrolled movement of parasites to geographical areas where the pathogen was once considered non-endemic. Such movements have become far more prevalent in aquatic diseases, but the rapid rise in the feral swine population in the US and therefore transmission of associated diseases is one example of how this can affect the commercial swine industry. Parasitic infections can be broadly divided into protozoan diseases such as cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis and helminthic diseases such as taeniasis derived from beef or pork tapeworms. In this chapter, we draw your attention to a few others that seem no longer to be given attentian as human pathogens, but fall into one or more of the categories defined above and therefore warrant discussion. In particular, this chapter will review parasites of the genus, Trichinella, which are gastrointestinal and tissue parasites once believed to be only contracted from swine but are now known to be capable of infecting all mammals. In addition, we will review 3 other helminths all of which are derived from fish. These include the fish tapeworm Diphyllobothrium and two nematode parasites of the genera Gnathostoma and Anisakis.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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