12.3.2 Diseases associated with poor fish hygiene
Fish is a perishable and potentially hazardous food item if not handled properly. There are many fishborne diseases associated with the environment in which the fish is grown, and with the way it is handled after it is brought out of the water, particularly if it is kept at room temperature.
Why does temperature affect the condition of the fish?
Microbes and autolytic enzymes are more active at higher temperatures, so deterioration proceeds faster.
Do you remember what autolytic means?
Autolytic means ‘self-destroying’. Autolytic enzymes are naturally occurring proteins in an animal that cause its cells and tissues to break down automatically after death.
Some of the zoonotic fishborne diseases include the following:
- Fish tapeworm, common in the Zeway, Arbaminch and Bahir Dar areas in Ethiopia. People are infected by eating raw and undercooked fish.
- Shigellosis, due to contamination with Shigella bacteria mostly during handling of the fish and via the faeco-oral route from water contaminated with faeces.
- Salmonellosis, due to contamination with Salmonella bacteria mostly during handling of the fish.
- Fish parasites, other than tapeworm, that contaminate the flesh.