What is trichinellosis? Trichinella

Trichinellosis is an infection caused by eating raw or undercooked meat of animals containing the worm, Trichinella.  Infection is normally through carnivorous animals.

What are the symptoms of trichinellosis?

Abdominal symptoms usually begin 1-2 days after infection, but others may show up after 2-8 weeks.  Symptoms can be mild to severe, although many people mistake mild symptoms for flu. Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Swelling in the face and eyes
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Itchy skin
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty moving
  • Breathing or heart problems
  • Death, in severe cases

What kind of meat is at risk for trichinellosis?

Risky foods include raw or undercooked:

  • Bear
  • Pork
  • Wild feline
  • Fox
  • Dog
  • Wolf
  • Horse
  • Seal
  • Walrus

Can trichinellosis be spread through human contact?

No.  Trichinellosis can only be spread by eating raw or undercooked meat products.

How is trichinellosis diagnosed?

If you believe you may have thrichinellosis, contact your healthcare provider. Tell them if you have eaten raw or undercooked meat. A blood test or skin biopsy can determine if you have trichinellosis.

Is trichinellosis common?

In the United States, trichinellosis is no longer common due to knowledge about properly cooking and storing meat.  An average of 20 cases were reported annually between 2008-2010.

How can I prevent trichinellosis?

Cook meat to proper temperature to prevent trichinellosis.  Store meat properly, and thoroughly wash any items that come into contact with raw meat.

For more information on trichinellosis, click here.