Skip to main content

Trichinella infection in a hunting community in East Greenland

  • L. N. MØLLER (a1), A. KOCH (a2), E. PETERSEN (a3), T. HJULER (a2), C. M. O. KAPEL (a1), A. ANDERSEN (a2) and M. MELBYE (a2)...

Trichinella nativa infection (trichinellosis) is highly prevalent in Arctic wildlife, but the human burden of trichinellosis in present-day Greenland is unknown. The study aimed to determine Trichinella seroprevalence in an eastern Greenlandic hunting community and to evaluate risk factors for seropositivity. Overall, 998 inhabitants aged ⩾10 years in the Ammassalik municipality were tested for Trichinella-specific IgG antibodies. Background information was obtained from questionnaires. Seropositivity was 1·4% in persons aged <40 years and increased to >12% in those aged ⩾60 years. Older age, occupation as hunter or fisherman, and consumption of polar bear meat significantly increased the risk of Trichinella seropositivity. The seropositivity age pattern probably reflects changes in dietary preferences, but could also reflect mandatory meat inspection since 1966. However, preventive measures against Trichinella infection should be strengthened in Greenland.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: A. Koch, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. (Email:
Hide All
1.The National Health Service of Denmark. Greenland 1947. In: The National Health Service of Denmark. Medical Report for the Kingdom of Denmark in 1947 [in Danish]. Copenhagen: H. Hagerup, 1949, pp. 261268.
2.Møller, LN, et al. Outbreak of trichinellosis associated with consumption of game meat in West Greenland. Veterinary Parasitology 2005; 132: 131136.
3.Bohm, J, van Knapen, F. Detection of serum antibodies to Trichinella spiralis by means of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in the population of Avanerssuak/Thule, Greenland. In: Tanner, CE, Martinez-Fernandez, AR, Bolas-Fernandez, F, eds. International Conference on Trichinellosis (ICT7). Madrid: Consejo Superiore de Investigaciones Cientificas Press, 1989, pp. 218222.
4.Henriksen, SA. Report on Trichinella in Denmark and Greenland (1978–1982). Wiadomości parazytologiczne 1983; 29: 616617.
5.Pozio, E, Darwin Murrell, K. Systematics and epidemiology of trichinella. Advances in Parasitology 2006; 63: 367439.
6.Statistics Greenland. Statistics on Greenland ( Accessed 1 November 2005.
7.Møller, LN, et al. Human antibody recognition of Anisakidae and Trichinella spp. in Greenland. Clinical Microbiology and Infection 2007; 13: 702708.
8.Kapel, CMO, Gamble, HR. Infectivity, persistence, and antibody response to domestic and sylvatic Trichinella spp. in experimentally infected pigs. International Journal of Parasitology 2000; 30: 215221.
9.Bruschi, F, et al. The use of a synthetic antigen for the serological diagnosis of human trichinellosis. Parasite 2001; 8 (2 Suppl.): S141S143.
10.Pars, T, Osler, M, Bjerregaard, P. Contemporary use of traditional and imported food among Greenlandic Inuit. Arctic 2001; 54: 2231.
11.Rasmussen, RO. Analysis of the Hunting Tradition in Greenland [in Danish]. Nuuk, Greenland: Greenland Home Rule Council, 2005, pp. 157.
12.Madsen, H. The distribution of Trichinella spiralis in sledge dogs and wild mammals in Greenland. Meddelelser om Grønland 1961; 159: 1124.
13.Born, EW, Henriksen, SA. Prevalence of Trichinella spp. in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from northeastern Greenland. Polar Research 1990; 8: 313315.
14.Born, EW, Clausen, B, Henriksen, SA. Trichinella spiralis in walruses from the Thule district, North Greenland, and possible routes of transmission. Zeitschrift für Saugetierkunde 1982; 47: 246251.
15.Proulx, JF, et al. Novel prevention program for trichinellosis in Inuit communities. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2002; 34: 15081514.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed