New Paper: Historical Details about the Meat Consumption and Taeniases in Joseon Period of Korea
Previous paleoparasitological studies of Joseon specimens established that the prevalence of Taenia infection was not much different from that of the early 20th century Korean population. As many of taeniases originally diagnosed as Taenia saginata in South Korea were revealed to be actually Taenia asiatica, which share a common intermediate host with T. solium (the pig), Joseon people must have ingested raw pork frequently. However, the current examination of extant Joseon documents revealed that the population ate significant amounts of beef even if the beef ban was enforced; and pork was not consumed as much as we thought. Considering the meat consumption pattern at that time, Joseon people should have been infected by T. saginata more frequently than T. asiatica. This may suggest a low prevalence of T. saginata metacestodes in cattle compared to that of T. asiatica metacestodes in pigs, possibly due to the traditional way of rearing pigs (using human feces). This letter gives us a chance to reconsider the existing preconception about parasitic infections in Korean history though we are still hard to accurately estimate the historical patterns of taeniases at this stage.