Folia Parasitologica, vol. 61 (2014), issue 6

Folia Parasitologica 61[6] 558-560 (2014) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2014.055

Consumption of untested pork contributed to over two-thousand clinical cases of human trichinellosis in Romania

Cristina Dobrescu1, Horia Hriscu2, Mihaela Emandi3, Carmen Zamfir4, Codruta Nemet5
1 Hospital of Psychiatry and Neurology, Brașov, Romania;
2 Hospital of Infectious Disease, Brașov, Romania;
3 Public Health Department of Brașov, Brașov, Romania;
4 County Clinic Emergency Hospital of Brașov, Romania, Brașov, Romania;
5 Transilvania University of Brașov, Faculty of Medicine, Brașov, Romania

Trichinellosis is an important zoonosis that is difficult to diagnose and that can lead to disability, death and economic losses for the meat processing industry. The outbreaks are related to the consumption of insufficiently cooked pork containing larvae of Trichinella spiralis (Owen, 1833). Here, we describe epidemiological features of the disease in a region where incidence rates are typically elevated (Brasov County, Romania). Our descriptive, retrospective epidemiological study spanned a period of 25 years (1983-2007) in a group of 3 345 consumers of infected meat, of whom 2 179 became infected. Both raw pork and processed pork products were consumed, typically during winter and spring holidays. Pigs bred and slaughtered by households were not always tested prior to consumption. The imposition of greater hygiene and testing has decreased the burden of disease in recent years, but the tradition of raising swine for familial consumption without prior testing continues to threaten health, even among groups, not typically suspected of facing elevated zoonotic risk such as children and residents of urban areas. Most outbreaks took place at family celebrations during which pork raised locally was consumed. Higher rates of clinical disease in women may reflect their greater participation in such events, but may alternatively reflect greater exposure to raw pork during meal preparation.

Keywords: Trichinella, outbreak, consumers, patients, epidemiology

Received: March 7, 2014; Accepted: June 9, 2014; Prepublished online: September 12, 2014; Published: December 4, 2014


  1. Blaga R., Durand B., Antoniu S., Gherman C., Cretu C., Cozma V., Boireau P. 2007: A dramatic increase in the incidence of human trichinellosis in Romania over the past 25 years: impact of political changes and regional food habits. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 76: 983-986 Go to PubMed...
  2. Dubey J.P., Hotea I., Olariu T.R., Jones J.L., Darabus G. 2014: Epidemiological review of toxoplasmosis in humans and animals in Romania. Parasitology 141: 311-325 Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  3. Dupouy-Camet J. 2009: Presidential address of ICT12 Conference: ''Trichinella and Trichinellosis - a never ending story". Vet. Parasitol. 159: 194-196 Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  4. Gottstein B., Pozio E., Noeckler K., 2009: Epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and control of trichinellosis. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 22: 127-145 Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  5. Nemet C., Coman I. 2000: Discussions about the results of the epidemiological and epizootological investigations in human and animals trichinellosis in Brasov. Scientia Parasitol. J. 1: 53-57
  6. Pastiu A.I., Gyoerke A., Blaga R., Mircean V., Rosenthal B.M., Cozma V. 2013: In Romania, exposure to Toxoplasma gondii occurs twice as often in swine raised for familial consumption as in hunted wild boar, but occurs rarely, if ever, among fattening pigs raised in confinement. Parasitol. Res. 112: 2403-2407 Go to original source... Go to PubMed...