Epilepsy causing parasite found in eels

May 18th, 2011 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, May 18 (IANS) A parasite that can cause epilepsy and or lead to paralysis has been detected in eels imported from Indonesia and the Philippines, officials said here.

This was the first time the parasite, gnathostoma spinigerum, has been found in China, said officials with the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Shanghai may ban eel imports from the two countries to ensure food safety, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The bureau tested 26 samples of eels imported from Indonesia, and the parasite was found in 14 samples. It was also found in nine samples from the Philippines.

The parasite can affect both livestock and humans. It spreads through food, by contact with infected animals and can pass from mothers to their babies, officials said.

There is a huge market for eels in China and imported products are very popular.

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