Anisakidosis is a disease caused by the nematodes Anisakis simplex, Pseudoterranova decipiens (sensu lato), Contracaecum sp., and Hysterothylacium following larval consumption in raw or undercooked fish. The mullets Mugil curema and Mugil cephalus along the coast of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, have high prevalences and mean intensities of Contracaecum multipapillatum sensu lato L3 larvae, which could increase the risk of acquiring the disease for people eating ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice) or undercooked fish tacos. This study shows the effects of different culinary treatments on the anatomical organization of C. multipapillatum s. lat. L3 larvae. We collected 709 larvae from 58 M. curema from Estero Zacatecas and Balandra. Groups of nematodes were exposed to different treatment regimes involving storage in pure lemon juice, 4% acetic acid (vinegar), and 0.9% saline solution at room temperature, or refrigeration, and fillets were cooked in a microwave oven, cooked foil wrapped, or fried on a conventional stove. We observed fish frozen at −20°C to −30°C that were destined for supermarket distribution. Helminths survived from 2 to 40 d, except those that were subjected to cooking and freezing, which died immediately. Treatments with lemon, vinegar, and cooking caused more serious lesions and anatomical disruption, which could decrease infectivity of the larvae when exposure time to these treatments lasted more than 2 d. Since fish meat preparation and exposure time to lemon or vinegar are typically from 8 to 10 hr, nematode viability might not be affected in case of accidental ingestion. Therefore, it is recommended to either cook fish or freeze them at −20°C to −30°C for more than 1 wk prior to ingestion.
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Vol. 81 • No. 2