Dr Doctor (Doctor) Joke van der Giessen is the first woman to be elected President of the International Commission on Trichinellosis (ICT). Her term of office is for four years (2015 to 2019). Joke van der Giessen is a veterinary microbiologist and parasitologist in the RIVM Center for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology. She is head of the National Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Parasites at RIVM. Trichinellosis or trichinosis is a notifiable disease in humans and animals that needs to be controlled in the animal population to protect humans.

One health 

ICT is a member of the World Federation of Parasitologists, through its affiliation with the International Union of Biological Sciences. The Commission consists of experts from the medical, veterinary and biology field and cooperates with national and international organisations (WHOOIEFAO) involved in the control of Trichinella in a one health approach.

RIVM role

RIVM is the confirmation laboratory for the competent authority (NVWA) when Trichinella larvae are suspected in animals slaughtered for human consumption (pigs, horses and wildlife). RIVM supervises  private routine laboratories in the Netherlands on Quality Control issues through proficiency testing and yearly audits and advises NVWA on the competence for Trichinella diagnostics of slaughtered animals in the Netherlands. RIVM is one of the national reference laboratories in the European network of specialised laboratories to control foodborne parasites in Europe.  


Trichinellosis is a serious  food-borne infectious disease that affects thousands of people worldwide every year. It is caused by ingestion of undercooked meat containing roundworms of the genus Trichinella. Although Trichinella testing of pigs, horses and wild boars is compulsory in the European Union, Trichinellosis outbreaks occur in Europe regularly every few years, mainly due to consumption of infected wild boar meat or meat products.  

Netherlands Trichinella-free 

There is no disease burden of trichinellosis in the Netherlands. There has been no Trichinella spp. infection in the Dutch pig population since 1979. There are no documented cases of human trichinellosis from the consumption of pork or pork products from animals reared in this country.  

See also our zoonoses webpages