10/16/18 07:16

Meeting to Accelerate Prevention and Control of Neglected Foodborne Parasitic Zoonoses in selected Asian Countries

Luang Prabang, Laos, 16-18 October 2018

Foodborne parasitic zoonoses such as foodborne trematodiases, taeniasis/cysticercosis and echinococcosis are neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with significant burden in Asia. Long term infection with clonorchiasis and opisthorchiasis is known to cause bile duct cancer. Neurocysticercosis caused by cysticercosis in the brain is the most common cause of epilepsy in endemic areas. Cystic echinococcosis can cause hydatid cysts throughout the body and could be fatal if untreated. Alveolar echinococcosis too is generally a severe disease with over 90% mortality in untreated patients. The latest estimate of the global burden of foodborne diseases by WHO Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Refernece Group (FERG) in 2015 reported that the Western Pacific Region has the highest death rate from foodborne parasites. Clonorchiasis alone infects more than 30,000 people in the Region a year, causing death among 1 in 5 cases.

These foodborne parasitic zoonoses are caused by trematodes (flatworms or “flukes”) or tapeworms that are acquired through ingestion of food contaminated with the larval stages, eggs or proglottids of the parasite or ingestion of food or water that contains the eggs of the parasite released from infected animals and/or humans.  Their transmission is maintained due to poor hygiene and sanitation, food habit or farming system. They are also considered climate-sensitive diseases as climate change can affect geographical habitats of vector and other animal reservoirs species. However, lessons learnt from past experience show that parasitic zoonoses can be controlled, prevented and possibly eliminated using integrated mix of effective and feasible interventions such as preventive chemotherapy, treatment, vaccination and management of animal reservoirs, safe food handling and preparation, and provision of safe water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) delivered through strong intersectoral collaboration and partnership.