Introduction and objective: Sarcocystis is an obligatory intercellular protozoan parasite which can induce infection and clinical signs in carnivorous and herbivorous host. Humans acquire infection by ingestion of cyst or eating raw and undercooked infected meat or meat-production. The main goal of this study is to detect prevalence of the parasites in meat-production such as hamburger, sausage and hot dogs and determine its important role in human health.
Materials and methods: Seventy five samples of hamburger, sausage and hot dogs (each 25 samples) were collected from retail stores in Ahvaz southwest of Iran. The samples were examined by digestion method using pepsin and HCl for detecting Sarcocystis parasite by light microscope.
Results: Sarcocystis species were seen in 56% for hamburger, 20% for hot dogs and 8% for sausage.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicated that the rate of the Sarcocystis sp. infection in meat-production is considerable and would be important for human. Many Sarcocystis sp. can infect meat many species from canine and feline definitive host. A molecular test such as PCR is needed to identify the parasite species. Digestion method is a sensitive, rapid and simple test for diagnosing Sarcocystis infection in meat. To prevent human infection, consumption of raw or under-cooked meat and meat-produced hyper endemic area should be avoided.
Significance and impact of the study: Regarding to meat-born disease transmitted to human, to detect protozoa parasites in meat and their products can be important to prevent transmission of parasites which have cyst stage and promote hygienic level in human community.
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