Foodborne diseases, caused by biological as well as chemical agents, have an impact in both developing and developed nations. The foodborne diseases of microbial origin are acute where as those caused by chemical toxicants are resulted due to chronic exposure. Amongst various microbial agents of foodborne diseases, parasitic infections have been recently identified as an important public health problems having considerable economic impact in terms of morbidity, loss of productivity, and health care costs. The risk factors for acquiring foodborne helminthic infections are overcrowding, unhygienic living conditions, scarcity of water, contaminated food and water, under nutrition and other poverty-related factors. According to the World Health Organization, there are 32 important foodborne pathogens, of which 10 are helminthes. Several foodborne and waterborne helminthic diseases such as echinococcosis, fascioliasis, taeniasis, cysticercosis, diphyllobothriosis, capillariasis, and ascariasis have shown increased trend in the last decades. Majority of the mentioned parasites have no successful detection and controlling mechanisms. Immunization of food animals against foodborne parasites in certain conditions is very limited because there is generally a lack of vaccines for foodborne parasites. Mass chemotherapy has been found most suitable approach to reduce the impact of helminthic diseases. In addition, education of consumers, food handlers and food producers with respect to personal hygiene is an essential component of food safety. Further, there is a need to strengthen veterinary services in order to reduce the occurrence of such diseases in livestock population. Emphasis should be given to undertake further studies on the diagnostic techniques and epidemiology of foodborne helminthic diseases.


  • Foodborne diseases, which involve multiple etiologies, are growing public health concern throughout the world

  • Since the foodborne disease causing organisms can enter through other routes and produce disease, it is difficult to determine the exact mortality associated with foodborne illnesses [1]

  • According to prioritizing results on foodborne parasitic zoonoses within each country's complex economic and public health problems, diseases caused by Taenia solium ranked 1st and Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis ranked 3rd and 4th, respectively

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Foodborne diseases, which involve multiple etiologies, are growing public health concern throughout the world. Thirty two important foodborne diseases are reported, out of which 10 are caused by helminths. Amongst the various types of foodborne diseases, parasitic diseases are often associated with poverty-related factors of developing countries, such as poor hygiene and sanitation, contaminated food and water, overcrowding, and malnutrition. More than one-quarter of the world’s population mainly the people from developing countries, is thought to be chronically infected with intestinal parasites [4].

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