Trichinella britovi as a risk factor for alternative pig production systems in Greece and Europe

Document Type: Review Article

Authors

1 Clinic of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Karditsa, Greece

2 National Reference Laboratory for Parasites, Centre of Athens Veterinary Institutions, Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Athens, Greece

Abstract

Trichinellosis is an important zoonosis and the most common source of human infection is meat from pigs and wild boars. The European Union (EU) supports alternative pig production systems (organic and free-ranging) as sustainable farming systems. However, these systems that allow outdoor access for farm animals, may create new or reintroduce old risks to public health. During the last years, alternative pig production systems (free-ranging or organic pig) are growing in popularity in Greece due to the increasing interest of consumers for organic products. The majority of the trichinellosis outbreaks in the EU were associated with pork and meat products including wild boars. In Greece, from 2009 to 2012, 37 Trichinella spp. positive free-ranging pigs were reported in free-ranging pig farms of Northern-Eastern Greece (31 were identified as T. britovi). The recent re-emerging present of the Trichinella spp < em>. infections in free-ranging pigs and wild boars are a high risk for the consumers and should alarm the Public Health Authorities in Greece and the EU. During the last years, the organic or free-ranging pig production systems are growing in popularity in the EU. However, these systems increase the risk of Trichinella spp. infections, since pigs are possible to be infected by feeding on carcasses or the offal of hunted or dead wild animals. For this reason, it is important for Public Health Authorities to be focused on the training of hunters and farmers in order to avoid the transmission among free-ranging pigs and prevent the cases of human infection.

The recent re-emerging presence of the Trichinella spp. infections in free ranging pigs and wild boars is a high risk for the consumers and should alarm the Public Health Authorities in Greece and EU. During last years, the organic or free-ranging pig production systems are growing in popularity in EU. However, these systems increase the risk for Trichinella spp. infections, since pigs are possible to be infected by feeding on carcasses or the offal of hunted or dead wild animals. For this reason, it is important Public Health Authorities to be focused on the training of hunters and farmers in order to avoid the transmission among free ranging pigs and prevent the cases of human infection.

Keywords


 
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