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Circular 1393

National Wildlife Health Center

Anisakiosis and Pseudoterranovosis

By Lena N. Measures

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.04 MB)Summary

Anisakiosis and pseudoterranovosis are parasitic diseases caused by infection with larval nematodes or roundworms of the genera Anisakis and Pseudoterranova. These infections are zoonoses, meaning they are transmissible between animals and humans and vice versa. The life cycles of Anisakis spp., commonly called whaleworm, and Pseudoterranova spp., commonly called sealworm, are complex and involve three marine hosts (invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals). Whales, dolphins, or porpoises are the definitive hosts in which Anisakis spp. become sexually mature, and seals, sea lions, or walrus are the definitive hosts of Pseudoterranova spp. These zoonotic parasites have medical and economic importance and can result in considerable costs to the fishing industry. Humans are accidentally infected by consuming raw, poorly cooked, cold smoked, lightly salted, or marinated marine fish or squid, the intermediate hosts infected with larval stages. Human infections are becoming more common with the popularity of eating raw fish as well as improved medical diagnostics. This report, seventh in the series of U.S. Geological Survey Circulars on zoonotic diseases, will help us to better understand the routes of anisakiosis and pseudoterranovosis infections and how best to adequately monitor these zoonotic diseases.

First posted November 5, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, U.S. Geological Survey
National Wildlife Health Center
6006 Schroeder Road
Madison, WI 53711–6223

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Suggested citation:

Measures, L.N., 2014, Anisakiosis and pseudoterranovosis: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1393, 34 p., 2 appendixes,

ISSN 1067–084X (print)

ISSN 2330–5703 (online)





Causative Agent

Geographic Distribution

Patterns and Trends

Species Susceptibility

Obtaining a Diagnosis

Disease Ecology

Points to Ponder

Disease Prevention and Control

References Cited



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