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'Deadly' parasite found in Sweden

'Deadly' parasite found in Sweden

Published: 14 Feb 2011 09:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2011 09:14 GMT+01:00

A tapeworm that can be fatal to humans has been discovered in a Swedish fox, marking the first time the parasite has been found in Sweden.

If more animals are found to be infected by the Echinococcus multilocularis parasite, Swedes may have to stop eating fresh berries picked right from the forest.

"This is very serious. It has never before been found in Sweden," Carl Hård af Segerstad, division head at the National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt, SVA), told news agency TT late on Sunday.

Up to 400 foxes are tested each year in an effort to detect the parasite. Last week, samples were taken from a suspected infected fox in northern Bohuslän in southwestern Sweden. On Friday, the infection was confirmed.

Tapeworm eggs can end up on berries and mushrooms through animal faeces. For dogs, cats and foxes, the parasite is relatively harmless. However, people must take precautions to prevent infection.

"It can form cysts in internal organs. If someone becomes infected, he or she will have to undergo lifelong anti-parasite treatment and survival is not certain," said Hård af Segerstad.

The worm is one of the reasons that dogs and cats entering Sweden must be dewormed. The parasite is found in many parts of Europe and is most common in the Alps, where people are discouraged from picking and eating mushrooms and berries in the countryside.

"If we ingest the eggs that the fox has crapped out in the woods, there is a risk that we'll get infected. As a result, we may need to change our habits in the forest, for example not picking berries from a stem and eating them," said Hård af Segerstad.

He emphasised that the worm has only been found in one animal. As such, he estimated that the infection has not been present here for very long.

"Now we have to start analysing as many foxes and small rodents as we can from the area to see how widespread the infection may be. There is no risk of infection now. There is nothing in the woods that one can put in one's mouth right now," he said.

A number of agencies, including the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet), are expected to meet soon to develop an action plan for how to manage the parasite's entry into Sweden.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:57 February 14, 2011 by UScitizen
"The worm is one of the reasons that dogs and cats entering Sweden must be dewormed."

I wonder if this was done to the imported wolves when the native wolves were uselessly slaghtered?
10:30 February 14, 2011 by Åskar
What imported wolves?
11:27 February 14, 2011 by StockholmSam
@ Åskar

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2010/01/29/Sweden-to-import-wolves/UPI-10731264777793/
11:40 February 14, 2011 by NoVaseline
hmm...trust me! i'm not politicizing the story. But i believe the Sweden Democrats would use the story to warn Swedes that importing any pets from Moslem, African and Asian countries pose great risk! No no, i normally never buy a fox from Somalia.
12:00 February 14, 2011 by dtrocilo
"Genetically weak" wolves and infected foxes. Any idea where this can lead to...???

There will be no surprise if these blood-thirsty, hatred-filled swedes start using this argument as an excuse for slaughtering all foxes.
12:42 February 14, 2011 by Puffin
@StockholmSam

But I didn't think wolves had actually been imported yet - I thought it was still at the feasibility study stage?

More likely to have been from an imported pet from Eastern Europe which is where many of these "bargain" pedigree dogs come from
14:26 February 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
For a moment there I thought that was a picture of Assange's missing condom....
14:37 February 14, 2011 by UScitizen
I'm not sure when the importation started or will start. The plans were made in Jan, 2010, at the time of the first cull. Either way, it's a bad situation.

@ Swedesmith Thanks! I'm glad someone finally mentioned him. I don't know what we're going to do for news until the verdict is rendered. A day without news of Assange is like a day without ........ uh....... news!!!

I'm just wondering if someone will leak the judge's opinion before it goes public.
15:03 February 14, 2011 by Swindu
its funny...was it 6 mths ago when that water bacteria somewhere here created pandemonium...residents needed to boil water before drinking...some reports claimed the bacteria must have been imported from somewhere else. these germaphobe swedes always try and point the finger somewhere other than here. the supposed ultra clean lifestyle is just that, supposed. if you're too clean, you'll get something faster. its better to have us dirty, germ carrying immigrants here to keep the locals healthy. that poor little fox...he was just minding his own business in the forest and now im sure its fate will be similar to the senseless killing of the wolves. karma people, karma.
15:43 February 14, 2011 by UScitizen
@ Swindu

You're absolutely right, bacteria helps develope immunity. That's why I only shower once a week. It helps keep people away from me. Well, except for the beggers. They don't seem to notice.

And dogs seem to be attracted to me, but I like dogs. Back in the good old USA I was raised with dogs!
16:02 February 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
I think I sat next to you on the bus once.
16:04 February 14, 2011 by UScitizen
Probably was me ;O))
17:00 February 14, 2011 by calebian22
No more Alpine refugees, problem solved.
17:28 February 14, 2011 by Staffs
This is not news, Sweden's Central Bank is the oldest in the world.
20:48 February 15, 2011 by wenddiver
The Immigrant worm.
23:43 February 15, 2011 by loudasthunder
Albeit there not the only "Deadly Parasites" in Sweden, Huh !!!
07:13 February 16, 2011 by orangetree
Swedish wolfes are all cousins back to 70's. They might intent to imporve the gene pool for wild life. This might be a message to Swedsih Democrats huh?
00:37 February 17, 2011 by matona1
they should be deported ,and the migrationsverket should refuse to give them resident permit
19:19 March 10, 2013 by Silvermaven
What did they expect giving everyone lyme vaccines for years knowing that the spirochetal prion proteins could not be killed by any means? Now we know all that junk DNA is responsible for infecting us all in the hundreds of strains of spirochetes found that is only dependent on the host they are in. You see they have duped you for yrs. dumbing down your immune systems for not only profits, but your land too, because they KNEW in 1985 what really caused AIDS immune suppression. Spirochetes.
19:23 March 10, 2013 by Dolores Claesson
Well this should not be news since E. Multiocularis was found in hunters in Austria. Birds are flying all over and wildlife do not need passports, so all of Europe will be dealing with all the zoonotic diseases. Forget that Sweden is like the ostrich with its head down or buried ignoring the huge epidemic of tick borne and other zoonotic pathogens in Sweden. My daughter and I traveled there in Summer 2008 and have been ill since. We have tested positive for Brucella, Borrelia, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Papillomaviruses, Coxsackie A and B viruses, HHV6 reactivation, and HSV 1 activation and had bells palsy, and GI problems, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Mycoplasmas and Chlamydia pneumoniae or TWAR as it is known in Sweden. Swedes are very ill with these pathogens and the physicians are ignoring or belittling patients. My friend is a retired radiologist in Sweden and her daughter was told by another doctor to go home and have a cup of tea. This has got to stop and figuring out all the pathogens and how to treat them is what we need to do. It is disgraceful world wide as to how these ill patients are being mistreated.
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