Multilocus genotype analysis outlines distinct histories for Trichinella britovi in the neighboring Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia

Giuseppe La Rosa, Isabelle Vallée, Gianluca Marucci, François Casabianca, Ennio Bandino, Fabio Galati, Pascal Boireau, Edoardo Pozio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The zoonotic nematode Trichinella britovi was discovered in two neighboring Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia, almost simultaneously at the beginning of the 21st century. An epidemiological link between the two parasite populations was generally assumed. In 2015, an outbreak of trichinellosis in Nice, the South of France, was reportedly caused by the consumption of raw pork delicatessen imported from Corsica. The aims of the present study were to investigate, by multilocus genotype (MLG) analyses, the hypothesis of the common origin of the Corsican and Sardinian T. britovi foci and to trace "from fork to farm" the origin of the pork product, which caused a trichinellosis outbreak in mainland France in 2015. Methods: Sixty-three T. britovi isolates were collected from animals and pork products of Sardinia and Corsica islands and from mainland of Italy, France and Spain. We analyzed genetic variability at four polymorphic microsatellite loci by two independent algorithms, the Bayesian and multivariate analyses, to evaluate the genetic relationships of 1367 single larvae. Results: Trichinella britovi isolates of the two islands showed different genetic structures and the Bayesian analysis revealed a different membership of the two insular populations. Furthermore, two geographically separate genetic groups were identified among Corsican isolates. Lastly, the origin of the pork delicatessen marketed in Nice was linked to a breeder-butcher in Corsica. Conclusions: The low level of genetic admixture of the insular T. britovi isolates suggests that this pathogen colonized the two islands by separate events. On the other hand in Corsica, although the isolates share the same genetic structure, geographically separate isolates showed different membership. We suggest the MLG analysis as a suitable method in supporting epidemiological investigations to trace "from fork to farm" insular populations of T. britovi.

Original languageEnglish
Article number353
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 19 2018


  • Fox
  • Mediterranean islands
  • Microsatellite
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Pig
  • Pork products
  • Trichinella britovi
  • Trichinellosis
  • Wild boar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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