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Risk Assessment Model for Human Infection with the Cestode Taenia saginata

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A probabilistic risk assessment model was developed to estimate the risk to human health of Taenia saginata in the New Zealand cattle population. A standardized monitoring program was established to determine the number of suspect cysts detected during postmortem inspection and the scenario set was applied to risks in both the domestic and export markets. The mean number of human infections per year as a result of consumption in the export and the domestic market was estimated as 0.50 and 1.10 respectively. Estimations for expression of specific clinical symptoms were even less. In a scenario set where postmortem inspection procedures for T. saginata were not applied, the mean number of human infections per year was estimated to increase from 0.50 to 0.61 in the export market and from 1.10 to 1.30 in the domestic market. Given that T. saginata infection in humans results in mild and readily treatable symptoms, these risk estimates are extremely low on any scale of food-borne disease and bring the value of specific postmortem inspection procedures for T. saginata in the New Zealand situation into question. The Monte Carlo model developed to calculate these probabilities is presented here in detail to illustrate the potential of Monte Carlo methods for modeling risk.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture, P.O. Box 2526, Wellington, New Zealand 2: David Vose Risk Analysis Services, 16 Mill Street, Wincanton, UK

Publication date: September 1, 1997

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