Abstract

Despite the increasing popularity of seafood in Australia and various reports of infection with transmissible parasites in Australian edible aquatic animals such as fish, the number of reported cases of human infections in the country is low. This raised the question that Australian medical doctors may not be fully aware of the presence of these parasites in Australia, which in turn can lead to misdiagnosis of infections. This also may lead to an underestimation of the risk seafood-borne parasites may pose to public health. This preliminary study was conducted to determine the awareness and level of knowledge among Australian medical practitioners in New South Wales, the most populated and multicultural state in Australia, about seafood-borne parasitic diseases. Medical doctors, both general practitioners and gastroenterologists, were surveyed through an anonymous questionnaire (n = 376). Although the response rate was low at 11%, participants represented a diverse group in terms of gender, age, nationality and expertise. Despite several publications on occurrence of zoonotic parasites in Australian fish and other edible aquatic animals, and also in humans in the country, all respondents said no seafood-borne parasite had been reported as being seen within Australian or overseas practice. Although, due to low response rate, we are unable to confidently comment on the level of awareness, the findings of this study clearly suggest that further research is needed to investigate the extent of unawareness among Australian medical doctors about these highly important parasites and understanding the underlying issues in medical education that lead to the unawareness.

Keywords

seafood-borne parasites, medical doctors, education, medical schools

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2019.101993

Available for download on Saturday, September 12, 2020

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