1 What is Trichinosis?

Trichinosis sometimes called trichinellosis is a type of roundworm infection. Roundworm infections require a host to live and reproduce. Occurring primarily in meat eating animals.

Humans can acquire this infection by eating raw undercooked meat. When humans consume undercooked meat containing larvae of trichinella these larvae develop into adult forms in intestines. It can be treated with medication, though it’s not always necessary. It is easy to prevent.

2 Symptoms

Abdominal symptoms of trichinosis occur after 2 days of acquiring the larva. Other symptoms begin around 2-8 weeks after infection.

Mild cases of trichinosis have no signs and symptoms. Depending on the severity of infections the signs and symptoms vary and may be divided into initial and later.

Initially They include:

Later signs and symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Muscle pain and tenderness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light and pink eye

3 Causes

The common cause of trichinosis is consumption of undercooked meat contaminated with larvae of the parasite. Common meat includes:

  • Horse
  • Pork and bear

These animals are infected by contaminated food.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Initial diagnosis of trichinosis depends on classical signs and symptoms.

Trichinella larvae bury themselves in the muscles. Stool samples don’t show the evidence of parasite.

To confirm the diagnosis doctor uses the following tests:

  • Blood test- your doctor may take the blood sample and test it for signs of trichinosis. Certain types of blood cells and antibodies suggest the presence of trichinella infection.
  • Muscle biopsy- a small sample of muscle tissue is taken for examination under microscope to check for the presence of larvae.

5 Treatment

Trichinosis isn’t serious and often gets better on its own, within a few months, without any treatment. However, fatigue, pain and weakness may trouble patient for months. Treatments for these symptoms include:

  • Anti-parasitic medications- these medications cause paralysis of the muscles of the worm and they lose grip from intestines can be easily evacuated in feces. They include albendazole or mebendazole.
  • Pain relievers- after muscle invasion these parasites cause pain and muscle aches. To prevent these symptoms pain relievers are given.
  • Corticosteroids- some cases of trichinosis cause allergic reactions, doctor will prescribe corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation.

6 Prevention

Some of the following methods must be used to prevent trichinosis:

  • Avoid undercooked meat.
  • Food must be cooked properly a minimum temperature of 63 C must be used to cook food.

Pork and beef must be cooked at a temperature of 71 C. using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure weather the meat is cooked properly or not.

Avoid undercooked wild game, avoid under cooked poultry, irradiation of meat will kill trichinella parasite. Clean meat grinders thoroughly.

7 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with trichinosis.

Risk factors of trichinosis include:

  • Consumption of contaminated meat which was not cooked properly, rural areas are more prone to the trichinosis infection.
  • Consumption of noncommercial wild meat.

Complications in trichinosis infection are rare. Only in severe cases some of the following complications can be seen:

  • Myocarditis- an inflation in the myocardium, thick muscular layer of heart.
  • Encephalitis- an inflammation in the brain. Meningitis- inflammation in the covering of the brain.
  • Pneumonia- when the larvae reach lungs they can cause pneumonia.