, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 1-15
Date: 09 May 2009

Biology of Alaria spp. and human exposition risk to Alaria mesocercariae—a review

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Abstract

Recent incidental background findings of Alaria alata mesocercariae [“Distomum muscularis suis,” Duncker, 1896] in meat of wild boars during official Trichinella inspection initiated a re-assessment of the potential human health risk as posed by this parasite. The present review of the literature on Alaria biology shows that the human exposition risk should no longer be accepted to be negligible, as it demonstrates a general lack of knowledge in relevant areas of Alaria biology confounding any risk analysis. Sound risk assessment needs future studies which should concentrate on the most pressing questions of (1) the optimization and/or development of methods for reliable Alaria mesocercariae detection, (2) the distribution of the mesocercariae within their paratenic hosts, i.e., identification of potential predilection sites, particularly in wild boars, and (3) their prevalence in sylvatic populations of animals with respect to their introduction into the human food chain. Further, the degree and possibly also the species specificity of Alaria mesocercariae tenacity within the paratenic hosts and respective meat as pertaining to food technological treatments need to be elucidated. While these questions remain unanswered, it is an incontrovertible fact that Alaria mesocercariae have a potentially high human pathogenicity by both occupational and alimentary exposition.