Shokoofeh Shamsi

Experts Has Found Dangerous Parasites In New South Wales Waterways

An invasive parasite has been found inside freshwater fish across New South Wales, raising concerns about its potential risks to humans.

This parasite targets Australian native fishes, including Murray cod, and galaxiids, a hybrid of Murray cod, and Trout cod.

On today’s episode of This Arvo In Sydney, we talked to Shokoofeh Shamsi, Professor in Veterinary Parasitology at Charles Sturt University, to find out the risk of this parasite and whether it could be a problem for Sydneysiders and our ecosystem.

The research was a collaboration between researchers from Charles Sturt University (CSU), the NSW Department of Primary Industries, and the Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

Ms Shamsi said this parasite has a habit of penetrating the gastrointestinal tract. It burrows through the stomach of its host, eventually causing its death.

Unfortunately, this parasite can also infect humans if they eat undercooked and infected fish,”

Ms Shamsi said.

Ms Shamsi said the parasite was more common than previously believed, prompting awareness campaigns and precautions.

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After my paper got published and since then, I regularly get phone calls, emails, people send samples to me in Newcastle, even in some areas in Victoria,”

she said.

While the parasite does not pose an immediate risk to humans if fish is cooked correctly, there are concerns about long-term exposure and the potential health effects. 

Symptoms of infection in humans may resemble common ailments, making it difficult to diagnose without awareness of the parasite’s presence.

Consumers of seafood and freshwater fish are advised to ensure thorough cooking to eliminate potential risks. 

While the discovery of this invasive parasite is concerning, experts say it should not cause panic or deter people from consuming seafood. 

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.