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2ND - 3RD MAY 2024

Keynote Speaker

Sara Healy

Brainfood – rethinking food-borne toxocariasis

Human toxocariasis is a neglected parasitic zoonosis caused by the larvae of two roundworm species; Toxocara canis, for which the definitive hosts are canids (e.g. dogs, foxes) and T. cati of felid species. Large numbers of eggs are shed in the faeces of these hosts, which contaminate the environment and can persist for long periods of time. If humans ingest infective eggs or larvae, the resulting disease can have serious implications including epilepsy and blindness.It is widely accepted that accidental ingestion of soil, by children in particular, can result in toxocariasis. But given that soil is a common contaminant of vegetables, and pasture grazing animals can become infected resulting in the presence of Toxocara spp. larvae in meat tissues, the pathway to food-borne transmission appears wide open. However, this route of infection has received relatively little research attention.In this talk, I will discuss the findings of my search for this parasite within the foods destined for our dinner plates and what this means in terms of the risk of food-borne transmission of Toxocara spp. to people in the UK. I’ll also cover some of the potential control interventions which could be implemented in a ‘farm to fork’ approach to reduce the risk of Toxocara spp. transmission and protect public health.

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Student Awards


Phoebe Beal 

Living with parasites: tolerance to nematodes in sheep  


Runners Up

Marianna Laura Elis Chocobar

Controlling gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep: a worm burden replacement strategy 


Best Introductory Presentation

Caitlin Strachan 

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