Most common food parasites

Food parasites are a series of microorganisms that can put human health at risk. They are ingested through diet and They have the capacity to colonize some sections of the intestinal tract or to generate toxins that are harmful. It is important to know which are the most common and the necessary measures to avoid their consumption.

Keep in mind that one of the most common causes of an emergency visit is food poisoning. This situation is usually generated from poor hygiene practices, which ends with the ingestion of pathogens that cause digestive problems. However, some of them can develop allergic processes and affect other vital organs, such as the liver.

Dangers of food parasites

On many occasions, food parasites are consumed without the person being aware of their presence in food due to their small size. It is also possible that the product contains only the roe of the pathogen, that will hatch in the intestinal tract areas until causing short-term damage.

It is perhaps one of the most complicated cases to treat, since the parasite settles inside the subject and causes a constant health problem. It should be noted that this series of organisms can develop in very diverse foods. They can appear in fresh produce, but also in canned food.

It is relatively common to find them in meats that have not been properly treated, even in some fish. Once they develop inside the body, could be transmitted through contact, especially if there is poor hand hygiene.

The presence of parasites in food is a common cause of food poisoning.

Main food parasites

An article published in Advances in Food and Nutrition Research exposes that foodborne parasites it is one of the most neglected groups of pathogens, given its complexity and the high prevalence in marginalized populations. However, in recent years they have spread to other populations and have been linked to unexpected symptoms.

What are the most common? How to reduce the risk of contamination? Answering these questions is very important. We detail more about it below.

Taenia solium

It is also known as "pork tapeworm." It is a microorganism that is found, above all, in pork that has not been treated in a correct or healthy way during the process that occurs in the slaughterhouse.

From eating contaminated food, tapeworms may develop inside the intestine. They have a worm-like appearance and have the ability to ingest the nutrients that are consumed through the diet.

According to a study published in the journal Parasite Immunology, esto can lead to progressive weight loss in humans, with its consequent state of malnutrition.

Echinoccoccus granulosus

In general, it is a parasite that lives in the intestines of dogs. However, it has been shown that It can also be transferred to humans from the consumption of contaminated meat from other animals, like that from the pig.

It is an organism shaped like a tapeworm, although small. It causes a protein consumption that reduces the bioavailability of amino acids for human use. Consequently, it damages health significantly.

To know more: Habits of good food hygiene

Toxoplasma gondii

This protozoan can cause toxoplasmosis in humans. It is a microorganism that lives mainly in cats, although its passage to pregnant women generates negative consequences for the fetus.

For the treatment it is necessary to resort to a series of drugs that manage to act on the synthesis of folic acid. Thus, a negative impact is generated on the vital and reproductive cycle of the parasite.

In the clinical picture of toxoplasmosis, flu symptoms such as fever stand out. Even this disease can be fatal in the case of immunosuppressed people.

In addition, there is some research that ensures that infection with this pathogen can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia in the medium term.

Strategies to reduce risks

One of the most effective mechanisms to reduce the risk of developing an infection by food parasites is to take extreme measures of food hygiene. In this sense, it is necessary to correctly wash fresh consumer products, except in the case of meats.

In addition, it is convenient to ensure that a high internal temperature is reached inside the food during its cooking, since this is an effective mechanism to exterminate the pathogens that may be contained inside.

At the same time, utensils for handling raw and cooked foods should not be shared. It is also important to sanitize the cutlery in an optimal wayas well as washing hands before handling groceries.

In the case of subjecting some food to a freezing process, it is always recommended to defrost it in the refrigerator and avoid leaving the product at room temperature, since it could promote the hatching of the roe that it contains inside or on its surface.

Proper handling of food is essential to avoid food parasite poisoning.

You may also be interested in: Food safety: what does it consist of?

Beware of food parasites

Getting an infection caused by food parasites is relatively common, and it is a problem that can seriously compromise human health. Not only does it affect the metabolism of nutrients or their availability, it can also cause liver damage and even a life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction.

In addition, in the case of pregnant women, certain poisonings are very dangerous, since they manage to endanger the life of the fetus. In this sense, we always advise you to purchase top quality food, which has passed health controls and presents the appropriate certification.

At the same time, it is essential that you cook food completely In order to ensure that the possible pathogens that inhabit it are destroyed. In the case of preserving the products, use methods that are safe and that manage to keep the edibles in good condition to prevent the reproduction of parasites.