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Opisthorchiasis in Italy (EpiSouth E-Web Bulletin, September 9 2011, edited)

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  • Opisthorchiasis in Italy (EpiSouth E-Web Bulletin, September 9 2011, edited)

    [Source: EpiSouth, full PDF document: (LINK). Extract, edited.]

    Location: Italy - Event: Opisthorchiasis
    • On 31st August, the EuroTravNet network reported an outbreak of Opisthorchiasis in Central Italy after the consumption of marinated tench fillets.
    • The cases are 2 tourists from The Netherlands who spent holidays near the Bolsena Lake.
    • The Italian health authorities were alerted and diagnosed 20 Opisthorchiasis cases. All infected persons acquired the infection in a restaurant of the Gradoli village (near the Bolsena Lake), approximately between the 20th and the 30th of July 2011.
    • According to EuroTravNet, the disease is compatible with an acute O felineus infection. Opisthorchiasis Felineus is a trematode parasite that infects the liver in mammals.
    • Human cases of Opisthorchiasis may affect the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. If not treated in the early stages, Opisthorchiasis may cause cirrhosis of the liver and increased risk of liver cancer, but may be asymptomatic in children.
    • The infection can be prevented by properly cooking or freezing the fish before consumption.
    • In 2007, 2 outbreaks of Opisthorchis felineus infection caused by the consumption of tench filets (Tinca tinca) were reported from a lake in Italy, with a total of 22 infected persons.

    • This outbreak occurred during the summer touristic peak in a touristic location.
    • Thus, it is not excluded that some tourists might develop symptoms once back in their countries of origin.
    • Opisthorchiasis should therefore be suspected in persons who spent one or more days near the Bolsena Lake (Central Italy) in July and consumed marinated freshwater fish, and who developed one or several of the following symptoms: eosinophilia fever, abdominal pain, headache, asthenia, arthralgia, diarrhea, nausea.