The Role of Parasites in Foodborne Illnesses

Parasites Foodborne

How can the public be educated on the risks of parasitic foodborne illnesses?

and Health

Parasites are an important factor in food borne illnesses and health, playing a role in our ability to be safe and healthy from certain contaminants in the food we eat. Parasites present a serious health risk to both humans and animals, with certain parasitic strains being connected to a number of foodborne illnesses.

What Are Parasites?

Parasites are a type of microorganism, some of which are visible to the naked eye, while others are microscopic. They different in size and complexity, but most share the common trait of being able to infect and live off of a host. This could be a human, an animal, or a plant.

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Common types of parasites include worms, protozoa, and fungi. They are usually contracted through the consumption of contaminated food, water, soil, or contact with infected animals.

Foodborne Illnesses Related to Parasites

Parasites are a major factor in foodborne illnesses, especially with certain parasitic strains such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia lambia, and Salmonella.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia lambia are two common parasites that can lead to cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue due to food poisoning. Infection with these parasites is often contracted by consuming contaminated food or water, and can lead to other serious complications.

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Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can lead to severe food poisoning. This bacteria is found in many foods, such as eggs, poultry, milk, and meat. It is usually contracted through contact with contaminated food or water, and can lead to diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.

Preventing Parasite Contamination

It is important to prevent contamination from parasites, as they can present a serious health risk.

The first step to preventing parasite contamination is to be aware of the potential sources of contamination. High-risk foods include uncooked meat, dairy products, and uncooked eggs.

It is important to ensure that all of your food is properly cooked and stored, to prevent the spread of parasites. Additionally, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling food and to wash surfaces that have come into contact with food.

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When travelling, it is important to pay attention to the local food and water safety recommendations, as these can be different from what is recommended in your own country. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the potential for parasites in the food you are consuming.


Parasites are a major factor in foodborne illnesses and health, and can lead to a number of serious complications. It is important to be aware of the potential sources and take steps to prevent contamination, such as washing hands and surfaces and properly storing and cooking food.