Marine fish imported from Argentina as source of human diphyllobothriosis in Europe? Ecological evidence from dolphins.
Diphyllobothriosis caused by the Pacific broad tapeworm Adenocephalus pacificus (syn. Diphyllobothrium pacificum) is an emerging parasitic disease reported also from non-endemic areas, including Europe (Spain). The origin of these human cases is unknown but should be related to fresh marine fish imported from endemic areas. In this study, we molecularly confirmed common dolphins Delphinus delphis off Argentina as euparatenic transit hosts of A. pacificus. Preliminary analysis of their stomach content, together with data from previous studies from the Southwest Atlantic, showed that common dolphins feed almost exclusively on schooling Argentine hake Merluccius hubbsi and Argentine anchovy Engraulis anchoita. Therefore, we suggest that Argentine hake and Argentine anchovy may represent the intermediate hosts of A. pacificus in the Southwest Atlantic, but also in Europe to where M. hubbsi is imported on ice (unfrozen).