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[Methods for investigating Trichinella infections in domestic and wild animals].

Trichinellosis is an important parasitic zoonosis that is caused by the intracellular nematode Trichinella spp.. Infection of humans occurs through consumption of raw (or undercooked) meat containing infectious larvae. In Europe, meat from pork, horse, and wild boar have been identified as most important sources of Trichinella infections in humans. In Switzerland, both the domestic pig and wild boar population are considered free of Trichinella. Conversely, Swiss foxes, lynxs and recently a wolf were found to be infected, the species identified in these animals was always referred to as Trichinella britovi. Although this species rarely infects pork and, compared to Trichinella spiralis, only causes reduced pathogenic effects in humans, the basic presence of Trichinella in Switzerland cannot be neglegted. This fact has gained increasing importance since the responsible authorities in the European Union (EU) are preparing regulations for the official Trichinella-control in meat in order to improve food safety for consumers. These regulations will be implemented as a consequence of the recent association of east European countries with the EU. This new legislation particularly takes into account, that in the past by far most cases of human trichinellosis in the EU were due to consumption of imported east European meat.Within the framework of the bilateral agreements of Switzerland with the EU, the Swiss veterinary public health authorities will have to comply with the foreseen EU regulations. Although diagnostic methods for the direct demonstation of Trichinella in pork meat are already routine practice in several Swiss abattoirs, the implementation of a meat control program for Trichinella for the entire slaughter pig population of the country would lead to an enormous increase in costs for the administration and will require an increased infrastructure in veterinary services. In order to find a reduced testing format for monitoring Trichinella infections in Swiss pork, an infection risk-oriented survey strategy is currently evaluated. In the present article, this minimized survey strategy is discussed regarding its compatibility with the EU regulations laying down rules for the official control of meat for Trichinella.

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