"Hunting" for Trichinellosis

Dec 9, 2011 | Madina Khamzina | Outbreak News

On Thursday, Dec. 8, nine people reported illness Buryatia Republic a south-central region of Siberia in Russia. Epidemiological investigation concluded that wild boar meat eaten at a community picnic was the source of infection. Wild boar meat provided by the local hunters is commonly used ingredient in the food made by Buryat people. Laboratory inspection of the meat samples revealed the presence of Trichinella larvae in the consumed meat.

The nine cases are currently receiving specific treatment in district hospitals for severe infection. Clinical symptoms of the patients include fever over 37°C, muscle aches, swelling, and rash. In addition, local health care providers are conducting control activities with other individuals who consumed wild boar meat. It is estimated that 16 people consumed meat at the picnic while 52 people others ate home-cooked meatballs and ravioli. Complex activities including laboratory analyses are necessary for early detection and prevention of trichinellosis. 

Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is a disease that people can get by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic parasite Trichinella. The parasite can be found in pork, bear, boar, walrus, fox, rat, horse and lion meat. In the last 3 decades of the 20th century, a variety of research efforts led to definition of 11 different Trichinella species infecting mammals, birds, and reptiles around the globe. It is a common infection worldwide, but is seldom seen in the United States because of strict rules regarding the feeding of domestic animals and meat-processing inspections. Since 1947 the average number of trichinellosis-related cases decreased from 393 cases to 12 cases per year of trichinellosis-related in 2001.

Symptoms of trichinellosis vary depending on the severity of the infection. Nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort are among symptoms that usually occur within 1-2 days after infection. Severe conditions might include difficulty coordinating movements and breathing problems. Mebendazole is commonly used to treat infections in the intestines.

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