Risk-based surveillance for Trichinella spp. in Switzerland


Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office


Risk assessment, economics

Project status

Trichinellosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the nematode Trichinella spp. Although infection does not lead to clinical symptoms in animals, in humans it can lead to serious disease and potentially death. The Swiss Federal Veterinary Office wanted to explore opportunities to change from the current inspection of all pigs at slaughter to a risk-based surveillance program to increase the efficient use of limited resources while maintaining the standards for public health protection.

SAFOSO coordinated and conducted a research study comprising various elements in close collaboration with the Institute for Parasitology in Bern. New diagnostic tools were developed and validated for use in domestic pigs to strengthen diagnostic capacities. Surveys were conducted in the wildlife population to assess the prevalence of infection in wildlife and a survey was done in the domestic pig population to document absence of infection using two different diagnostic techniques. A risk assessment was conducted to assess the probability of human exposure to Trichinella spp in Switzerland. Integrating the results from these studies, a model for a risk-based surveillance program in domestic pigs was developed. Finally, the costs of various surveillance models in domestic pigs were calculated.

This research project resulted in various peer-reviewed scientific publications.

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