European Congress of Tropical Diseases/1st Mediterranean Travel Medicine meeting

Monday Sept 7 2009

We are in Verona, home of Juliet & Romeo & apparently Pinocchio, if the street sellers are any indication. My companion is tucking warily into her first swordfish meal, a confirmed meat eater up until now. She remarks that her uncle had warned her to eat it well cooked and asked my opinion. My answer was “well cooked” and laughed, as I realised she thought it was a question of taste whereas the truth was I had immediately thought of parasites! This is what attending a tropical disease meeting does for you, so often dominated by parasitic diseases. 

We are here as exhibitors to publicise the Global Health database…and it has been most gratifying that on the first day, we have already met people who know , use and have been delighted with the unique content they have retrieved using Global Health. 

I have managed to attend a couple of specific meetings, pressure group discussions really: one on neglected diseases and one on the future of medical publishing and how it can help “South” researchers progress their careers and build their country’s research capacity.  

Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTDs)? How long is a piece of string? With a disease list ranging from the WHO’s major 10 to  Professor Peter Hotez’s 31, depending on your definition,  the one thing all NTDs do have in common is the fact that they afflict the world’s poorest peoples and keep them poor through their impact. Most of the WHO’s 10 are parasitic and many of these NTDs are appearing, or indeed reappearing, in the “developed” world amongst migrant populations. We heard Dr. Francois Chappuis (MSF) that Chagas disease was no longer confined to South America, thanks to migration. A recent study in Geneva, which has a large no-status Latin American population, found  12% of this group had Chagas and without insurance had  no access to appropriate health care, the local practitioners were unlikely to diagnose it and the drugs to treat it were not yet licensed in Switzerland! 

But I think I will leave you with some relevant food parasite papers to give you nightmares and thank your lucky stars (if you live in urban Europe) that you can eat your fish or meat and know that strict veterinary public health regulations have seen to it that your food is safe. Just remember, in general, it is not just for matters of taste that we need to cook meat & fish thoroughly.

Read on for the reference list….


1-5 are unique to Global Health. I will add links later: internet connections are not very good at this conference.

  1. Proceedings of the Third ASEAN Congress of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (ACTMP3), The Windsor Suites Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, 22-23 May 2008. Parasites: a hidden threat to global health. 2009. Conference proceedings. FULLTEXT. Available only through Global Health.
  2. Quality of green vegetables marketed in the Northwest of Paraná, BrazilFalavigna, L. M. ParasitologĂ­a Latinoamericana 2005, 60,3/4, 144-149   
  3. Anisakidae parasites of cusk-eel, Genypterus brasiliensis Regan, 1903 purchased in the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil and of interest in public health. Knoff, M. ParasitologĂ­a Latinoamericana 2007,62,3/4,127-133. 
  4. The spread of zoonoses and other infectious diseases through the international trade of animals and animal products. Seimenis, A. M. Veterinaria Italiana 2008,44,4,591-599
  5. First report of Cryptosporidium sp. (Coccidia, Apicomplexa) oocysts in the black mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) reared in the Mali Ston Bay, Adriatic Sea. Mladineo, I.. Journal of Shellfish Research 2009, 28,3, 541-546 UNIQUE to Global Health.
  6. Identification of risk factors for cystic echinococcosis in a peri-urban population of Peru. Moro, P. L. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2008, 102.
  7. A slaughter slab survey for extra-intestinal porcine helminth infections in Northern Tanzania. Ngowi, H. A. Tropical Animal Health and Production 2004, 36, 4, 335-340
  8. Assessment of regional risk of human trichinellosis. Dubinský, P. Slovenský Veterinársky Časopis 2009,34,3, 159-16
  9. Epidemiology and control strategies against cysticercosis (due to Taenia solium) with special reference to swine and human in Asia. Juyal, P. D. Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (Lahore) 2008,1,1,1-10.

                  1 Comment

                  1. JimmyTH on 10th February 2010 at 8:14 pm

                    I’ve traveled enough that I’m now amazed I didn’t come home with something horrible — and actually I might have, some unexplained long term problems that were diagnosed in retrospect and apparently ran their course, lucky me. I’m against salad now, prefer everything cooked and cleaned, the except I suppose would be fruit which I can peel. Probably if people knew all the critters you could catch internally they’d never leave home. Of course, some of them are here, too.

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