Compiled By: Julie A. Albrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor
The Organism: Trichinella spiralis is a parasitic nematode worm. The life cycle of the parasite begins when the infectious cysts are eaten with the flesh of any meat eating animal. The cysts are digested and the liberated larvae from the cysts invade the small intestine. The female hatches larvae that are carried by the blood and lymph to the muscles.
Sources of the organism:
- Muscle tissue of infected animals
- Wild game (bear, moose, etc)
- Parasitic roundworm nematode; needs a living host to grow.
The Disease: Trichinosis is caused by the colonization of Trichinella larvae in muscles where they grow and form cysts.
- Profuse sweating
- Muscular pain
- Swelling around eyes
- 1 day - 8 weeks
- Consuming 1 or more cysts may cause the symptoms of the illness to develop.
Duration of symptoms:
- Thoroughly cook pork and wild game.
- Proper sanitation of food contact surfaces and utensils.
- Commercial meat processors should check with USDA for recommended procedures for quick freezing, drying and smoking to destroy the cysts.