16% of Spanish pigs infected with Toxoplasma gondii
About 16 percent of pigs in Spain carry the cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii, according to researchers in Spain and the US. The work is published in the journal Parasitology International.
Toxoplasma gondii can be transmitted to human via inadequately cooked pork. This is of particular importance for pregnant women; an infection during the pregnancy can lead to abortion. The researchers showed that the parasite was present in 24.2% of the sows and 9.7% of the fattening pigs. The added that farms with a rodent problem or many cats have a higher risk of carrying the parasite.
Besides Spain, Toxoplasma gondii is also common in other countries: Italy (16.3%), Portugal (15.6%) and Germany (16.5 -18.5%). Considering that the annual German production is 45 million pigs, this means that each year about 7.5 million infected carcasses enter the food chain.
Higher values are seen in Serbia (28.9%) and Poland (26.4%). Lower values are seen in Sweden (5.2%) and the Netherlands (10.9%). In the last years, the Netherlands has made great efforts to fight Toxoplasma gondii in the Dutch pig population.