A Review on Important Foodborne Zoonotic Parasites of Southeast Asia

Léa Indjein *

Faculty of Veterinary Science, Prince of Songkla University, Chulabhorn Karoonyaraksa Building, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Many neglected tropical diseases are foodborne parasitic zoonoses, which are typically transmitted to humans after consumption of contaminated food, soil or water, containing eggs or larval stages. This review focuses on the three main foodborne zoonotic helminths of Southeast Asia (SEA): Taenia solium, Opisthorchis viverrini and Ascaris species; describing their life cycle and clinical signs, distribution and prevalence, associated risk factors, key control and prevention strategies, and main challenges. This review highlights that despite the existence of recommended standardized and validated diagnostic methods, the range of available procedures can cause overreporting or underestimation of the prevalence and intensity of foodborne parasite infections, and directly impact the monitoring of the food chain and of control and prevention programs. These foodborne parasites and their intermediate hosts will be able to expand their geographic range and colonise new habitats due to ongoing increases in temperature, humidity and rainfall, as a result of climate change. Future interventions aiming to reduce the prevalence and impacts of foodborne parasitic zoonoses in SEA should thus be multi-dimensional and consider interactions between humans, animals, the food chain, and the environment, by adopting a One Health approach. In order to disrupt foodborne zoonotic helminthic transmission, this review underlines that animal reservoirs and high-risk human populations should be both the target of anthelmintic treatments; more remote and tribal areas should be included in health, hygiene and sanitation infrastructures and awareness programs; stricter national policies and control systems should be implemented to reinforce food safety monitoring and limit contamination of the food chain; while existing education and training campaigns should be further promoted.

Keywords: Ascaris species, foodborne zoonotic parasites, Opisthorchis viverrini, Southeast Asia, Taenia solium

How to Cite

Indjein, Léa. 2022. “A Review on Important Foodborne Zoonotic Parasites of Southeast Asia”. South Asian Journal of Parasitology 5 (2):35-52. https://journalsajp.com/index.php/SAJP/article/view/130.


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