U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



2019 The Authors.



Food and Waterborne Parasitology 12 (2019) e00033


Being able to identify the species or genotype of Trichinella is of paramount importance not only for epidemiological studies but to better ascertain the source of outbreaks that still occur worldwide. This has become more critical in recent years given the increase in imported meat products and the relationship that wild animals play in the domestic and sylvatic transmission cycles. In contrast to a time when the genus Trichinella was considered monospecific, research in recent years has revealed that the genus consists of 9 species and at least 3 additional genotypes which have yet to be named. Except for a non-encapsulated clade consisting of Trichinella pseudospiralis, Trichinella zimbabwensis, and Trichinella papuae, all members of this genus are morphologically indistinguishable. Thus, identification has been relegated to using PCR and in special cases, DNA sequencing or restriction enzyme digestion. Rather than using a collection of PCR primers specific for each genotype, a single multiplex PCR previously developed for differentiating the major encapsulated and non-encapsulated genotypes has been adopted by the International Commission on Trichinellosis. Since the assay was first developed, other species have been named. Thus, DNA sequencing has been used to validate closely related genotypes. The ICT recommends genotyping be performed as described herein during all outbreaks and whenever Trichinella has been found in consumable foods.