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Not only ticks and lice are parasites which can infest humans. Parasites can also reach the human organism via foods and cause considerable damage. In order to minimise parasitic risks, BfR conducts studies and assessments on foods which are contaminated by toxoplasms (unicellular organisms), ascarid nematodes (giant round worms) or Trichinella (nematodes).

What is a parasite and how can it damage the organism?

A parasite is an organism which feeds on other living organisms (host) or infests the latter for reproduction purposes.

It can damage the host by impairing the functions of its organs, destroying cells and withdrawing important nutrients. Normally it doesn't kill it. Diseases caused by parasites are referred to as parasitoses.

Selected parasites

The following parasites are under special observation by BfR:

  • Trichinella (Trichinella spp.)
  • Toxoplasms (Toxoplasma gondi)
  • Alaria alata
  • Fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)
  • Sarcocysts (Sarcocystis spp.)

What tasks does BfR perform?

BfR examines risks for health which can be caused by microorganisms and parasites. Moreover, the Institute assesses foods in terms of parasitic risks.