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Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Oct;134(5):942-5. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Commercial watercress as an emerging source of fascioliasis in Northern France in 2002: results from an outbreak investigation.

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  • 1Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint Maurice, France.


In April 2002, five cases of fascioliasis were diagnosed in Tourcoing. A case-finding and a case-control study were carried out to identify the source of the outbreak and take appropriate control measures. Eighteen cases were identified through the medical laboratories carrying out serology for fascioliasis. Fourteen cases and 23 controls, identified by the physicians of the cases, were interviewed on symptoms of the disease and their consumption of uncooked plants. Cases were more likely than controls to have eaten commercialized raw watercress (OR 86.7, P < 0.001) and 13 (93%) of the cases reported its consumption. A single producer common to all cases was identified. The inspection of his watercress beds showed a lack of protection against Lymnaea truncatula. This outbreak of fascioliasis due to commercialized watercress indicates that actual sanitary regulations do not allow for the efficient prevention of infestation of watercress production in France.

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