Magnetic stirrer method for the detection of Trichinella larvae in muscle samples
Trichinellosis is a debilitating disease in humans and is caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the nematode larvae of the genus Trichinella. The most important sources of human infections worldwide are game meat and pork or pork products. In many countries, the prevention of human trichinellosis is based on the identification of infected animals by means of the artificial digestion of muscle samples from susceptible animal carcasses. There are several methods based on the digestion of meat but the magnetic stirrer method is considered the gold standard. This method allows the detection of Trichinella larvae by microscopy after the enzymatic digestion of muscle samples and subsequent filtration and sedimentation steps. Although this method does not require special and expensive equipment, internal controls cannot be used. Therefore, stringent quality management should be applied throughout the test. The aim of the present work is to provide detailed handling instructions and critical control points of the method to analysts, based on the experience of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites and the National Reference Laboratory of Germany for Trichinella.