Trichinellosis Symptoms

What is trichinellosis

Trichinosis is a type of severe parasitosis caused by a type of roundworm. These are parasites that use the body of their host to exist and reproduce.

The disease mainly affects carnivores /carnivores/, especially bears, foxes and walruses. This type of parasitosis is acquired by ingesting larvae when eating raw or undercooked infected meat.

When a person ingests undercooked meat containing larvae of the roundworm trichinella, they enter the intestine, where they reach sexual maturity after a few weeks.

Already adult parasites begin to shed larvae that migrate through various tissues, can even penetrate muscles.

The disease is most prevalent in rural areas everywhere in the world.

This type of parasitosis can be treated with medication, although this is not always necessary.

What are the symptoms of trichinellosis?

Abdominal clinical manifestations may develop within 2-7 days of infection. Other symptoms usually appear 1-8 weeks later.

The severity of the symptoms usually depends on the number of larvae ingested through the infected meat.
It is possible that the parasitosis occurs without clinical manifestations.

Rare cases of the disease, in which the number of helminths in the body is small, may not cause symptoms. Clinical manifestations occur when the worming is moderate or severe.

Initial signs and symptoms

It is possible to ingest trichinella larvae encased in a cyst. Digestive juices dissolve the envelope of the parasites and so they are released into the body. Subsequently, the larvae penetrate the intestine, where they mature into adult worms.

In this phase of the disease you can get:

• Diarrhea;
• Abdominal cramps;

Later signs and symptoms

About a week after the worms reach sexual maturity, female adults release larvae that penetrate the intestinal wall, enter the bloodstream, and eventually enter muscle or other tissue.

This parasitic invasion of tissues can cause:

• Fever;
• Muscle pain and tenderness;
• Swelling of the eyelids or face;
• Muscle weakness and drowsiness;
• Headache;
• Sensitivity to light;
• Redness of the eyes;

When should we seek medical attention?

If you develop the mild form of the disease without any symptoms, it is entirely possible that you will not need to seek medical attention.

If you notice that you have gastrointestinal problems or feel muscle pain or swelling anywhere on your body about a week after consuming pork or wild animal meat, seek medical attention.

There is no effective treatment once trichinella parasites penetrate the tissues. In such a case, therapy is only to relieve symptoms until the helminths die on their own.

Treatment of trichinellosis

The disease is usually not serious and often clears up on its own after about a few months if the amount of larvae ingested is not large.

However, accompanying generalized bothersome symptoms such as fatigue, mild pain, weakness, and diarrhea can continue to impair the quality of life of those infected for months, even years.

When the disease causes symptoms, drug treatment is applied:

Anti-parasitic drugs – if the trichinella is detected early, when it is still in the gut, albendazole and mebendazole are effective, which paralyze the worm’s muscles and kill the larvae and they are safely evacuated from the organism.

Because these drugs are very strong, patients usually develop adverse gastrointestinal reactions. However, when the larvae have penetrated the tissues, antiparasitic drugs are only slightly effective.

However, your doctor may prescribe these if you have cardiovascular, respiratory or central nervous system problems due to the parasite infestation.

Pain relievers – used when the trichinella has already penetrated the muscle tissues

Corticosteroids – used to prevent or relieve a possible allergic reaction when parasites penetrate muscle tissue or dead or dying larvae release toxic substances into muscle tissue.

Prevention of trichinellosis

• Avoid eating undercooked pork or wild animal meat.

You must make sure that all the meat is cooked to a temperature of 63 degrees Celsius, that is, the temperature in the innermost part must exceed this value.

Do not cut or eat the meat for at least 3 minutes after removing it from the heat source.

The meat of a young suckling pig must be cooked to at least 71 degrees Celsius and can be consumed immediately after removing it from the heat source.

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to make sure it’s cooked through.

• You should know that other methods of processing or storing meat such as smoking and pickling do not kill trichinella in infected meat.

Clean meat grinders very thoroughly. If you grind your own meat, you should make sure that the meat grinder is cleaned after each use.

Freeze wild game meat – in most types of meat, trichinella dies after 3 weeks of deep freezing.

But in bear meat, the parasite does not die after prolonged freezing. It is not necessary to freeze the meat if you are sure that it is well cooked.

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