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Control of trichinellosis by inspection and farm management practices.

Veterinary Parasitology 2000 December 2
The prevention of human trichinellosis by proper meat inspection is a classic example of successful veterinary public health measures. The microscopic methods which have been used for more than a century to test pigs for trichinae were intended to prevent human disease. However, the value of these relatively insensitive direct detection methods, including trichinoscopy and pooled sample digestion, was debated as soon as more sensitive indirect (serological) methods became available. Two issues related to testing were discussed. First, should public health authorities endeavour to prevent all infections of humans rather than simply prevent the occurrence of disease, and second, would epidemiological surveillance and monitoring of the pig population on farms not provide a better control system to prevent human infection. This latter issue is of particular importance for those countries in the world where human trichinellosis acquired from farmed animals is absent and examination of pigs at the abattoir only results in negative findings. In countries where domestic pig infections are virtually non-existent, monitoring of Trichinella infection in wildlife could also contribute to understanding the infection pressure from nature to livestock. Trichinella-free pig farming is a feasible option for controlling this zoonosis, even in endemic areas. This approach provides an opportunity to combine good veterinary practice, in order to prevent animal diseases, with the prevention of Trichinella infection. All animals with access to the environment, or animals which are fed with potentially Trichinella-infected feed (swill, carcasses) will always constitute a public health threat, and must be inspected individually at slaughter (swine, horses, wild boars). Finally, it is important to recognize that trichinellosis is a world-wide problem that needs continuous public health attention. If no control system exists, for whatever reason, the public should be educated not to consume improperly cooked meat.

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