Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, or trichiniasis, is a
parasitic diseasecaused by eating raw or undercooked porkand wild gameinfected with the larvae of a species of roundworm" Trichinella spiralis", commonly called the trichina worm. The few casesww in the United States are mostly the result of eating undercooked game, bear meat, or home reared pigs. It is most common in the developing world and where pigs are commonly fed raw garbage.
igns and symptoms
Trichinosis initially involves the intestines. Within 1-2 days of contagion, symptoms such as
nausea, heartburn, dyspepsia, and diarrheaappear; the severity of these symptoms depends on the extent of the infection. Later on, as the worms encyst in different parts of the human body, other manifestations of the disease may appear, such as headache, fever, chills, cough, eye swelling, joint pain and muscle pain, petechiae, and itching.
Most symptoms subside within a few years. The most dangerous case is worms entering the
central nervous system. They cannot survive there, but they may cause enough damage to produce serious neurological deficits (such as ataxiaor respiratory paralysis), and even death.
The worm can infect any species of mammal that consumes its encysted
larval stages. When an animal eats meat that contains infective "Trichinella" cysts, the acid in the stomach dissolves the hard covering of the cyst and releases the worms. The worms pass into the small intestine and, in 1–2 days, become mature. After mating, adult females produce larvae, which break through the intestinal wall and travel through the lymphatic system to the circulatory system to find a suitable cell. Larvae can penetrate any cell, but can only survive in skeletal muscle. Within a muscle cell, the worms curl up and direct the cell functioning much as a virus does. The cell is now called a " nurse cell". Soon, a net of blood vessels surround the nurse cell, providing added nutrition for the larva inside.
blood testor muscle biopsycan identify trichinosis. Stool studies can identify adult worms, with females being about 3 mm long and males about half that size.
Symptoms can be treated with
aspirinand corticosteroids. Thiabendazolecan kill adult worms in the intestine; however, there is no treatment that kills the larva.
Trichinosis was known as early as
1835to have been caused by a parasite, but the mechanism of infection was unclear at the time. It was not until a decade later that American scientist Joseph Leidypinpointed undercooked meat as the primary vector for the parasite, and not until two decades afterwards that this hypothesis was fully accepted by the scientific community [http://www.acnatsci.org/museum/leidy/other/parasitology.html] .
Infection was once very common, but is now rare in the developed world. From
1997to 2001, an annual average of 12 cases per year were reported in the United States. The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw meat garbage to hogs, increased commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products. [cite web
title=Trichinellosis Fact Sheet | Division of Parasitic Diseases | CDC
publisher=Centre for Disease Control, US Government |date=2004
In the developing world, most infections are associated with undercooked pork. For example, in
Thailand, between 200 and 600 cases are reported annually around the Thai New Year. In parts of Eastern Europe, the WHO (World Health Organization) reports that some swine herds have trichinosis infection rates above 50%, and there are correspondingly large numbers of human infections [http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic612.htm] .
It has been suggested that trichinosis may be one of several factors that led to religious prohibitions in Islam, Judaism, etc. against eating pork products, such as in the
kashrutand dhabiĥa halal dietary laws. The medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonidesadvocated such a theory in his Guide for the Perplexed. This topic is controversial.
International Commission on trichinellosis
International Commission on Trichinellosis(ICT) was created in 1958 in Budapest and is aiming to exchange information on the biology, the physiopathology, the epidemiology, the immunology, and the clinical aspects of trichinellosis in humans and animals. Prevention is a primary goal. Since the creation of the ICT, its members (more than 110 from 46 countries) have regularly gathered and worked together during meetings held every 4 years : the International Conference on Trichinellosis.
meatproducts to an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) for a minimum of 15 seconds.
porkto a uniform internal temperature of at least 144 °F (62.2 °C), per US FDA Title 9 section 318.10. It is prudent to use a margin of error to allow for variation in internal temperature and error in the thermometer.
porkless than 6 inches thick for 20 days at 5 °F (−15 °C) or three days at −4 °F (−20 °C) kills larval worms.
*Cooking wild game meat thoroughly. Freezing wild game meats, unlike freezing pork products, even for long periods of time, may not effectively kill all worms. This is because the species of trichinella that typically infects wild game is more resistant to freezing than the species that infects pigs.
*Cooking all meat fed to pigs or other wild animals.
* Keeping pigs in clean pens with floors that can be washed (such as concrete). This is standard in Germany, where raw pork is a common delicacy and trichinosis is rarer than in the U.S. Fact|date=October 2007
*Not allowing hogs to eat uncooked carcasses of other animals, including rats, which may be infected with trichinosis.
*Cleaning meat grinders thoroughly when preparing ground meats.
*Control and destruction of meat containing
trichinae, e.g., removal and proper disposal of porcine diaphragms prior to public sale of meat. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionmakes the following recommendation: "Curing (salting), drying, smoking, or microwaving meat does not consistently kill infective worms." [cite web
url = http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/trichinosis/factsht_trichinosis.htm
title = Parasitic Disease Information - Trichinellosis
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Parasitic Diseases
accessdate = 2007-01-28
] However, under controlled commercial food processing conditions some of these methods are considered effective by the
United States Department of Agriculture. [cite web
url = http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=f9361ee66063187dffee4c083c24b6a7&rgn=div5&view=text&node=9:188.8.131.52.19&idno=9#9:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11
title = Electronic Code of Federal Regulations; Title 9: Animals and Animal Products; PART 318—ENTRY INTO OFFICIAL ESTABLISHMENTS; REINSPECTION AND PREPARATION OF PRODUCTS; § 318.10 Prescribed treatment of pork and products containing pork to destroy trichinae
United States Department of Agriculture
accessdate = 2007-01-28]
List of parasites (human)
*"The text of the original version of this article was taken from the
public domain resourceat http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/trichinosis/factsht_trichinosis.htm"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trichinosis Surveillance, United States, 1987-1990, MMWR 1991;40:(SS-3)35-42.
*Moorhead A, Grunenwald PE, Dietz VJ, Schantz PM. Trichinellosis in the United States, 1991-1996: Declining but not gone. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999; 60:66-69.
* [http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/9CF318.html US FDA regulations - Title 9 - Chapter 3 - Part 318 - includes "Prescribed treatment of pork and products containing pork to destroy trichinae."]
* [http://www.med.unipi.it/ict/welcome.htm International Commission on trichinellosis web pages]
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