Parasites by continent

Jul 3, 2014
by WLJ

Classified biologically as protozoa and helminths (but better known as tapeworms, flatworms and roundworms), it is difficult to know how widespread parasites are globally because in many countries it is not compulsory to notify public health authorities of their presence.

In Europe, more than 2,500 people are affected by food borne parasitic infections each year. In 2011 there were 268 cases of trichinellosis and 781 cases of echinococcosis recorded in the EU.

In Asia, there is no precise national data but parasitic diseases are known to be widely spread and are recognized as major public health problems in many countries.

In most African nations there is no data at all on the prevalence of food borne parasites in humans because there of a general lack of surveillance systems.

In the United States, neurocysticercosis, caused by Taenia solium, is the single most common infectious cause of seizures in some areas of the U.S. where 2,000 people are diagnosed with neurocysticercosis every year. Toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of food-borne illness and death.