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1 February 2011 Severe Infection of Wild-Caught Snakes with Spirometra erinaceieuropaei From Food Markets in Guangzhou, China Involves a Risk for Zoonotic Sparganosis
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Abstract
Wild-caught snakes are a popular and traditional food in China. However, little known to the public, snakes are also intermediate hosts of Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, a food- and water-borne pathogen of sparganosis. Therefore, we investigated the prevalence of S. erinaceieuropaei in 10 popular species of wild-caught snakes in Guangzhou City (Guangdong Province) between July 2009 and July 2010. One hundred and twenty-four specimens of 10 species (including Enhydris plumbea, Zoacys dhumnades, Elaphe radiate, Elaphe taeniura, Elaphe carinata, Ptyas mucosus, Ptyas korros, Naja naja atra, Bungarus fasciatus, and Bungarus multicinctus) were randomly selected from a total of 1,160 wild-caught snakes. They were obtained from food markets in 5 representative districts (Huadou, Panyu, Tianhe, Haizhu, and Conghua). The specimens were killed, necropsied, and examined for parasitic helminths. Of the snakes examined, 29.8% were infected by spargana and the worm burden per infected snake ranged from 1 to 221. Most species were infected except for En. plumbea, B. fasciatus, and B. multicinctus. Prevalence even reached 100% in Zoacys dhumnades. More than half (53.5%) of the spargana were located in muscular tissue, 36.4% in subcutaneous tissue, and 10.1% in the coelomic cavity. The study revealed the potential risk for the zoonotic sparganosis by eating wild-caught snakes and will be helpful in arousing public health concern about the consumption of snake meat.
Fumin Wang, Lihua Zhou, Shiping Gong, Yanzhong Deng, Jiejian Zou, Jun Wu, Wenhua Liu and Fanghui Hou "Severe Infection of Wild-Caught Snakes with Spirometra erinaceieuropaei From Food Markets in Guangzhou, China Involves a Risk for Zoonotic Sparganosis," Journal of Parasitology 97(1), (1 February 2011). https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-2519.1
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