Most EU trichinellosis cases from Eastern Europe - ECDC

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/Bigandt_Photography Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania account for the majority of trichinellosis cases
Picture: iStock/Bigandt_Photography Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania account for the majority of trichinellosis cases
Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania accounted for the majority of trichinellosis cases in 2015, according to the latest European data.

The three countries made up 63% of all confirmed cases based on data for 2015 from The European Surveillance System (TESSy).

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said 15 Member States reported zero cases including four that have not had trichinellosis reports since 2007.

Decrease in two countries

A total of 243 cases, of which 156 were confirmed, was reported from 29 EU/EEA countries in 2015.

This was a decrease of 57% compared with 2014.

The EU notification rate decreased mainly due to a decline in cases from Bulgaria and Romania, which had the majority of Trichinella outbreaks in previous years.

In Bulgaria, only one outbreak (of T. britovi due to wild boar meat) was reported in 2015, compared with five in 2014.

In Romania, the reason for decrease was unknown but could be due to better risk communication to the public on preventive measures and medication when Trichinella was detected in meat.

An increase in Lithuania was attributed to an outbreak with 20 cases caused by wild boar meat, from January to March 2015.

Recurring peak

The EU trend was influenced by a number of outbreaks which peaked between January and March followed by a smaller peak in November.

The recurring peak in January and February may reflect consumption of different pork products during Christmas and at the end of the hunting season.

In total, 15 Trichinella outbreaks were reported by eight Member States, affecting 119 people, 34 of whom were hospitalised.

Twelve outbreaks had strong causal evidence and nine were associated with ‘pig meat and products thereof’ (including four involving meat from hunted wild boars).

For carcasses of animals raised under controlled housing conditions, only 10% have to be examined for Trichinella and if no autochthonous infestations have been detected in domestic swine kept under these conditions in the last three years such examinations are not required.

Products from pig and wild boar meat remain the most important sources of human trichinellosis in the EU, said ECDC.

“Consuming undercooked meat from backyard pigs or hunted wild boar which were not tested for Trichinella is a major risk factor for trichinellosis, and it is vital that this information reaches those who consume these meats.”

The highest case rate of trichinellosis was among 25-44-year-olds followed by 45-64-year-olds.

Notification rates varied by gender, with higher rates among male cases aged 5-14 and older than 24 years and among female cases in under five years and 15-24 years.

Italy, Lithuania and Romania reported almost all cases among children and young teenagers (0-14 years old).

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