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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 13;7:43699. doi: 10.1038/srep43699.

Assessing the risk of an emerging zoonosis of worldwide concern: anisakiasis.

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Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, Main Street, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, AB41 6AA, United Kingdom.
College of Physical Sciences, School of Natural and Computing Sciences, University of Aberdeen, St. Machar Drive, Cruickshank Bd., Aberdeen AB24 3UU, United Kingdom.
Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) &Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.
ECOBIOMAR, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Eduardo Cabello 6, E-36208 Vigo, Spain.
University Hospital La Paz-Institute for Biomedical Research (IdiPaz), Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046 Madrid, Spain.
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Section of Parasitology, Sapienza University of Rome, P. le Aldo Moro, 5 00185 Rome, Italy.
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Laboratory of Aquaculture, Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 63, 21000 Split, Croatia.
Department of Ecology and Biology (DEB), Tuscia University, Viale dell'Università, snc 01100 Viterbo, Italy.
College of Life Sciences and Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen. St. Machar Drive, Cruickshank Bd., Aberdeen, AB24 3UU, United Kingdom.


Anisakiasis is an emerging zoonosis caused by the fish parasitic nematode Anisakis. Spain appears to have the highest reported incidence in Europe and marinated anchovies are recognised as the main food vehicle. Using data on fishery landings, fish infection rates and consumption habits of the Spanish population from questionnaires, we developed a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) model for the anchovy value chain. Spaniards were estimated to consume on average 0.66 Anisakis per untreated (non-frozen) raw or marinated anchovy meal. A dose-response relationship was generated and the probability of anisakiasis was calculated to be 9.56 × 10-5 per meal, and the number of annual anisakiasis cases requiring medical attention was predicted between 7,700 and 8,320. Monte Carlo simulations estimated post-mortem migration of Anisakis from viscera to flesh increases the disease burden by >1000% whilst an education campaign to freeze anchovy before consumption may reduce cases by 80%. However, most of the questionnaire respondents who ate untreated meals knew how to prevent Anisakis infection. The QRA suggests that previously reported figures of 500 anisakiasis per year in Europe is a considerable underestimate. The QRA tool can be used by policy makers and informs industry, health professionals and consumers about this underdiagnosed zoonosis.

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