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Published On: Thu, Aug 1st, 2013

Canadian boy contracts trichinosis, first case in Canada linked to domestic pork in decades

A Bruce County, Ontario, Canada boy is the first case in decades in the area to contract  trichinosis from domestic pork, according to a recent Shoreline Beacon report.

Trichinella spiralis cyst Image/CDC

Trichinella spiralis cyst
Image/CDC

The case of the nematode parasite was actually detected in January at a Mennonite farm, said Grey Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn. “The farm was non-commercial and the pig was slaughtered and consumed on the farm. No part of the animal ever entered the commercial food supply,” the report said.

It’s believed the child consumed infected smoked ham or sausage from the infected pig.

According to the Shoreline Beacon, until this January, the last human case of trichinosis case in Canada occurred in 1980 and was associated with the consumption of infected domestic pork, although there has been cases related to consuming wild boar meat.

Trichinosis is a parasitic disease caused by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis. If someone ingests undercooked or raw meat with the encysted larvae, the stomach acid releases the larvae which mature to adults in the intestine.

After about a week the female starts releasing larvae which enter the bloodstream and find their way to skeletal muscle where they encapsulate.

There can be gastrointestinal symptoms mimicking acute food poisoning when there is activity of the adults in the intestine.

Sudden appearance of fever, muscle soreness and pain with swelling of parts of the face is early classic signs. This can sometimes be followed by retinal hemorrhages and other ocular signs.

With heavy infections cardiac, respiratory and neurological problems may ensue with death by heart failure being most common. The more larvae you ingest, the more serious the disease.

Due to inspections, laws that prohibit feeding meat and meat byproducts to swine, better pest control by keeping rats away from where pigs are kept and an educated public who is aware of the risks of eating undercooked pork, trichinosis is a minor public health problem.

There are still small outbreaks from time to time here and abroad with the consumption of dog, bear, wild boar and cougar, just to name a few.

Other animals that are considered hosts to this parasite include: cats, rats, horses, foxes, wolves, polar bears, marine mammals of the Arctic and lions and leopards in the tropics.

What preventive measures are available?
• Cook all fresh pork, pork products and meat from wild animals to where all the meats reaches 160° F. The meat should turn from pink to gray.
• Freezing pork at -13° F for at least 10 days will kill the cysts. The exception to this rule is strains of Trichinella found in walrus and bear meat which are cold-resistant and must be cooked as noted above.
• Smoking, salting or drying meat is not effective.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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