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Research by the NRL for Trichinella

Human trichinellosis is a typical food-borne disease which is caused by intestinal round worms (nematodes) of the Trichinella genus. Human beings become infected by consuming raw or insufficiently cooked trichinous meat (e.g. domestic pigs or wild boars) or products made from them like raw sausage or raw ham. Most reported cases can be traced back to so-called imported cases, i.e. people infected abroad or from products they have brought back with them. At several year intervals there have been outbreaks of trichinellosis in Germany in which a larger number of people fell ill after consuming wild boar or domestic pig meat.

Research areas

Research by the BfR "National Reference Laboratory for Trichinella" focuses on

  • development and validation of diagnostic methods.
  • animal experiments on host-parasite interaction in various animal species (pig, fox, horse etc.). The emphasis is on specific questions of pathogen manifestation and persistence in food-relevant organs and the use of host defence mechanisms for diagnostic questions (serology). Furthermore, the laboratory addresses questions of the inactivation of Trichinella in meat and products made from it (e.g. raw sausage) using special technological methods.
  • epidemiological studies on the incidence of Trichinella in humans and wild animals (wild boar, fox, marten) in Germany. These are conducted in co-operation with national surveillance agencies and universities. Modern methods are used and developed further for the differentiation of Trichinella isolates.
  • active participation in the International Commission on Trichinellosis (ICT). Here, the emphasis is on elaborating recommendations and guidelines for the detection of Trichinella in humans and animals using direct and indirect methods.



Contact person
Dr. Annette Johne (Head of




Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
FGr 45 - NRL for Trichinella
Diedersdorfer Weg 1
12277 Berlin


Reference Laboratory

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