Objectives Trichinellosis is a worldwide zooantroponosis caused by a nematode of the genus Trichinella. The main source of human infection is the consumption of raw or undercooked meat (especially from pigs, wild boars and horses). Infection with Trichinella was one of the most frequent parasitic diseases inItaly until 1959 when obligatory screening for these parasites in slaughtered swine was introduced. The aim of our review was to describe the epidemiology of Trichinellosis inItaly, because the last review on this topic was performed in 1989.

Study Design We performed a systematic research in MEDLINE

Methods We included in our review studies that were published in the peer reviewed literature using the MESH terms “Trichinellosis” and “Italy”. The only restrictions were the language (articles should be in English, Italian, Spanish or French) and the date of publication: from 1989 to March 2017. We excluded all the articles which referred to trichinellosis in the animals or which focused only on molecular biology of trichinella or on diagnostic techniques.

Results We found 56 studies, but only 8 studies were considered. A total of 764 cases of Trichinellosis occurred inItaly since the 1990:13.75%caused by T. Britovi and 84.42% by T. spiralis; in 14 cases the identification of the parasite was not performed. The outbreaks occurred inUmbria, Piedmont, Apulia (500 cases in 1990, by T. spiralis),Basilicata,Tuscany, Abruzzo, Emilia Romagna,Sardinia. In 2001 and in 2008 two outbreaks occurred in Lazio andVeneto respectively, but imported from abroad. The most important sources of infections were: horse meat (82.19%); wild boar (11.91%); pig (5.89%).

Conclusion Trichinellosis is an old disease, still present in our country, but often forgotten by general practitioners and infectious diseases specialists. Our review shows how it is impossible to define a region with a negligible risk, and how physicians and veterinarians should be regularly trained about this parasitic disease. A strict surveillance, especially on meat products from endemic countries or from wild animals is necessary to considerably reduce the risk of acquiring the infection.


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