Trichinosis is the infestation of the larvae of a parasitical worm species called Trichinella spiralis.
You can contract trichinosis by eating animal flesh that is infected by T. spiralis larvae that aren't killed by cooking. Undercooked pork is a common trichinosis cause, as are game meats, such as bear, fox, and wolf. Trichinosis causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and stomach cramps. A headache, cough, swollen eyes, achy joints and muscles, and itchy skin may follow these initial symptoms, and severe cases may cause heart and breathing problems.
The first set of symptoms (nausea, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea) will show up a day or two after eating infected food, but further symptoms (muscle pain and swollen eyes) come around two to eight weeks later. It might take weeks or months to get back to your old self after a bout with trichinosis, but most people do fully recover, either by taking antiparasite medications or by simply allowing the infestation to run its course.
Who's at Risk for Trichinosis?
According to the CDC, only about 12 cases of trichinosis are reported annually in the United States, but anyone who eats raw or undercooked meats, especially game meats, is at risk.
Defensive Measures Against Trichinosis
Be sure you cook all meats until they are safely done.
Stomach infections can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, but simple steps such as washing your hands and thoroughly cooking foods can keep those infections away. Follow the tips in this article to keep your innards infection- and infestation-free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers magazine and Southern Living magazine. Mann formerly was an assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine.
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