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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 62, Issue 2


Detection of Echinococcus multilocularis DNA in fruit, vegetable, and mushroom samples collected in the non-endemic territory of the Pomerania province and comparison of the results with data from rural areas of the neighbouring highly endemic Warmia-Masuria province, Poland

Anna Lass
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Tropical Parasitology, Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Beata Szostakowska
  • Department of Tropical Parasitology, Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
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/ Przemyslaw Myjak
  • Department of Tropical Parasitology, Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
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/ Krzysztof Korzeniewski
  • Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine Department in Gdynia, Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland
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Published Online: 2017-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2017-0053


Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm that may cause alveolar echinococcosis (AE), one of the most dangerous parasitic zoonoses. As in the case of some foodborne diseases, unwashed fruits and vegetables contaminated with eggs of E. multilocularis may serve as an important transmission route for this parasite. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of E. multilocularis DNA in fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms in rural areas of the Pomerania province, Poland (non-endemic territory). In total, 104 environmental fruit, vegetable, and mushroom samples collected in forests, plantations, and kitchen gardens were analysed using nested PCR based on the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. E. multilocularis DNA was detected in 6.7 % of the samples tested, which indicated that the environment of the Pomerania province is contaminated with this parasite, creating a potential risk for humans. Therefore, fresh fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms should be washed before consumption. Additionally, the results showed that the level of contamination is significantly lower than in the highly endemic Warmia-Masuria province. The differences in the occurrence of E. multilocularis in the environment of these neighbouring provinces appears to be connected with the general epidemiological situation of these two regions, but further study is required for an exact explanation.

Keywords: Echinococcus multilocularis; eggs; environment; PCR; fruits; vegetables; mushrooms


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About the article

Received: 2016-06-29

Revised: 2017-02-01

Accepted: 2017-02-21

Published Online: 2017-04-18

Published in Print: 2017-06-01

Conflict of interest statementThe authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 62, Issue 2, Pages 459–465, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2017-0053.

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