The transmission of anisakid nematodes through their marine environment to their definitive hosts or humans involves intermediate hosts, which may be required or optional (paratenic). Transmission of the disease in Europe and North America has been attributed to fin fish (Deardorff et al., 1986; Van Thiel et al., 1960), although in Japan squid and octopus also have been implicated (Oshima, 1987). The life cycle of all members of the family Anisakidae fit the following pattern: Viable eggs in feces pass into the aquatic environment, where they embryonate, deposit at least a second-stage cuticle, hatch, penetrate the gut of an invertebrate intermediate host, grow, and develop. The predatory second intermediate host consumes the infected first host, and development of the parasite continues. It may then pass to additional intermediate hosts or mature in the intestinal tract of the definitive host, if mating and production of eggs occurs.


Definitive Host Fish Fillet Rectal Gland Anisakis Simplex Anisakid Nematode 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey W. Bier

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