Abstract

Although human infections caused by Trichinella sp. have not been reported in Finland for several decades and Trichinella sp. infection in pork has become virtually extinct in the last decade, sylvatic Trichinella spp. infection is still highly prevalent in Finland. Muscle digestion of 2,483 carnivorous wild animals from 9 host species during 1999–2005 showed 617 positive animals (24.8%). Molecular identification from 328 larval isolates revealed 4 different endemic Trichinella species, i.e., T. nativa, T. spiralis, T. britovi, and T. pseudospiralis. Seven percent of the infected animals carried mixed infections. Trichinella nativa was the most common species (74%), but T. spiralis was identified in 12%, T. britovi in 6%, and T. pseudospiralis in 1% of the animals. Host species showed different sample prevalence and Trichinella species distribution. Geographical distribution also varied, with the southern part of the country having significantly higher percentages than the northern part. Infection density was dependent on both the infecting Trichinella species and the host species. Trichinella spiralis was discovered in areas with no known domestic infection cases, indicating that it can also occur in the sylvatic cycle. Raccoon dogs and red foxes are the most important reservoir animals for T. spiralis, as well as for the sylvatic Trichinella species in Finland.

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