Trichinosis

Common Name(s)

Trichinosis, Trichenellosis

Trichinosis is a parasitic infection by the roundworm Trichenella spiralis. People can swallow the cysts of roundworm larvae (immature worm surrounded by a hard capsule) when eating infected raw or undercooked meat. The larvae cysts are most likely to be found in wild meat like bear, fox, horse, or walrus. Undercooked pork from domestic pigs may also be a source of the parasite though farming regulations in many countries have decreased such infections. Around the world, trichinosis infections are more common in rural areas. Trichinosis cannot be passed from person to person.

When the larvae cysts enter the stomach, stomach acids release the larvae. The larvae grow into adult worms in the small intestine. The adult worms produce eggs which grow into larvae and then travel through the arteries (blood vessels) to the muscles. The larvae again make hard capsules around themselves (cysts). The cycle only continues if the raw or undercooked muscle meat is eaten by another animal.

If only a few larvae cysts are in the meat which is eaten, symptoms will be mild. If more cysts are present, early symptoms (1-2 days after infection) may include stomach pain, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. When the new larvae move to the muscles (between 2-8 weeks), symptoms may include a high fever, facial swelling, weakness, muscle pain, headache, light sensitivity, and pink eye. Severe, large infections are rare but can lead to heart, brain, and lung inflammation.

Blood tests and muscle biopsy may be used for diagnosis. Treatment with medication should begin as soon as possible to avoid muscular pains and symptoms. Trichinosis infection is preventable by avoiding undercooked meat, especially wild game and poultry. Irradiation will also kill the larvae cysts. Microwaving, pickling, curing or smoking meat will not. If you have been diagnosed with trichinosis, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Trichinosis" returned 58 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

[A hundred years since the beginning of the Great War: trichinosis outbreak in Dresden marine in Chile: Chronicle of an announced infection].
 

Author(s): Italo Fernández, Alejandro Mihovilovich

Journal: Rev Chilena Infectol. 2017 Apr;34(2):176-180.

 

In commemoration of one hundred years of the beginning of World War I, the occurrence of an outbreak of trichinosis in the crew of the SMS Dresden, a German ship that participated in that world conflagration, is re-viewed. In September 1915, while the sailors of SMS Dresden were forcibly ...

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2017

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Acute renal failure associated with albendazole therapy in a patient with trichinosis.
 

Author(s): Cassandra Marie Batzlaff, Jakrapun Pupaibool, M Rizwan Sohail

Journal:

 

A 72-year-old Caucasian woman presented with a 3-week history of confusion, cramping abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue and dehydration. By history, she reported consumption of raw pork and bacon that was salted and cured in brine, but not boiled or cooked. Laboratory ...

Last Updated: 20 May 2014

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[Epidemiological study of recorded trichinosis cases in Santa Fe Province, Argentina, 1998-2009].
 

Author(s): Gabriel J Sequeira, María L Dalla Fontana, María V Zbrun, Lorena P Soto, Laureano S Frizzo, María Del Pilar Zarazaga, Inés C Sanchez, Marcelo L Signorini

Journal: Rev. Panam. Salud Publica. 2013 May;33(5):363-9.

 

To characterize recorded trichinosis cases and outbreaks in Santa Fe Province, Argentina, from 1998 to 2009 from epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory viewpoints.

Last Updated: 14 Jun 2013

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Trichinosis" returned 3 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Food-borne parasitic zoonosis: distribution of trichinosis in Thailand.
 

Author(s): Natthawut Kaewpitoon, Soraya-Jatesadapattaya Kaewpitoon, Prasit Pengsaa

Journal: World J. Gastroenterol.. 2008 Jun;14(22):3471-5.

 

Trichinosis is among the most common food-borne parasitic zoonoses in Thailand and many outbreaks are reported each year. This paper investigates the distribution of the disease in regions of north, north-east, central and south Thailand. Between the earliest recorded of outbreak ...

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2008

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Trichinosis: epidemiology in Thailand.
 

Author(s): Natthawut Kaewpitoon, Soraya-Jatesadapattaya Kaewpitoon, Chutikan Philasri, Ratana Leksomboon, Chanvit Maneenin, Samaporn Sirilaph, Prasit Pengsaa

Journal: World J. Gastroenterol.. 2006 Oct;12(40):6440-5.

 

Trichinosis is one of the most common food-borne parasitic zoonoses in Thailand and many outbreaks are reported each year. This paper reviews the history, species, and epidemiology of the disease and food habits of the people with an emphasis on the north, northeast, central and south ...

Last Updated: 30 Oct 2006

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Immunobiology of trichinosis.
 

Author(s): C M Lee, Y Best

Journal: J Natl Med Assoc. 1983 Jun;75(6):565-70.

 

Trichinosis is world-wide in distribution, occurring in tropical, temperate, and polar regions. Although incidence of the disease appears to be declining in most regions, it is still widely distributed in Europe and is increasing in many parts of Africa. In recent years, the incidence ...

Last Updated: 20 Sep 1983

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