Detection of Echinococcus multilocularis DNA in fruit, vegetable, and mushroom samples collected in the non-endemic territory of the Pomerania province and comparison of the results with data from rural areas of the neighbouring highly endemic Warmia-Masuria province, Poland

Acta Parasitol. 2017 Jun 1;62(2):459-465. doi: 10.1515/ap-2017-0053.


Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm that may cause alveolar echinococcosis (AE), one of the most dangerous parasitic zoonoses. As in the case of some foodborne diseases, unwashed fruits and vegetables contaminated with eggs of E. multilocularis may serve as an important transmission route for this parasite. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of E. multilocularis DNA in fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms in rural areas of the Pomerania province, Poland (non-endemic territory). In total, 104 environmental fruit, vegetable, and mushroom samples collected in forests, plantations, and kitchen gardens were analysed using nested PCR based on the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. E. multilocularis DNA was detected in 6.7 % of the samples tested, which indicated that the environment of the Pomerania province is contaminated with this parasite, creating a potential risk for humans. Therefore, fresh fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms should be washed before consumption. Additionally, the results showed that the level of contamination is significantly lower than in the highly endemic Warmia-Masuria province. The differences in the occurrence of E. multilocularis in the environment of these neighbouring provinces appears to be connected with the general epidemiological situation of these two regions, but further study is required for an exact explanation.

Keywords: Echinococcus multilocularis; PCR; eggs; environment; fruits; mushrooms; vegetables.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales*
  • Animals
  • DNA, Helminth / isolation & purification*
  • Echinococcosis
  • Echinococcus multilocularis / genetics*
  • Food Parasitology*
  • Fruit / parasitology*
  • Ovum
  • Poland
  • Vegetables / parasitology*
  • Zoonoses


  • DNA, Helminth