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Determination of prevalence and predilection sites of Trichinella spp. in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Germany (pilot project)

An important potential source of infection with zoonotic pathogens is the consumption of game meat. This is also gaining in importance under the influence of the public discussion on livestock farming. In addition to the classic game species (roe deer, red deer, wild boar, etc.), new "unusual" game species are increasingly finding their way onto menus. For example, an increasing trend of eating raccoon meat can be observed. An important pathogen associated with the consumption of meat is trichinella, which can cause trichinellosis, a notifiable disease in humans. All carnivorous and omnivorous domestic and wild animals are potential hosts for this parasite. Therefore, the meat of such animals is subject to official inspection in slaughterhouses or game processing companies in order to prevent human diseases caused by the consumption of meat infected with trichinella. This also applies to raccoons. Since these animals have not played a role in food use so far, there is little knowledge about the extent of the burden of raccoons by trichinella in Germany.

Therefore, the aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which the raccoon population in Germany is infected with Trichinella spp. Both the frequency and the intensity of infestation are to be recorded and possible endemic areas identified. This will also allow an assessment of the extent to which raccoons are involved in the spread of Trichinella. This is also of particular interest because, in addition to direct infection for humans, there may also be a risk through entry into domestic pig populations.

Another component of the study is the determination of the predilection site, i.e. the tissue in which the pathogens preferentially accumulate. This should make it possible to determine which parts of the carcass are best suited as a sample for official trichinella testing.


Torsten Langner

Institut für Lebensmittelhygiene
An den Tierklininken 1
04103 Leipzig
Tel.: 0341 9738234