Trichinosis – Argentina

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An outbreak of trichinosis has led to 244 cases across seven cities in Argentina; Villa del Totoral, Sarmiento, Cañada de Luque, Jesús María, Colonia Caroya, Bell Ville, Córdoba. The source of infection is pork meat from shops in the town Villa del Totoral, where most of the cases are concentrated.

Symptoms generally begin with fever, severe muscle pain, headache, and pain and swelling around the eyes. Gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhea and vomiting may also appear.

On October 4th there were 162 confirmed cases. Today, October 5th, this number rose to 244. It was not confirmed whether anyone has been hospitalized or has died.

Photo: Trichinella spiralis larvae, also called prok worm.

Trichinosis, also known as trichinellosis, is a parasitic disease caused by roundworms. Typically the disease is contracted by eating under-cooked, usually wild, meat containing Trichinella cysts. Most often bear meat will be the cause, but infection can also occur from pork, boar, rodents and dog meat.

After being eaten, the larvae are released from their cysts in the stomach. They then invade the wall of the small intestine, where they develop into adult worms. Symptoms usually are diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

This disease is found in at least 55 countries, but is more common in cooler climates. The best way to prevent trichinosis is to fully cook meat and avoid eating wild meat or bush meat.

In 1835 trichinosis was discovered by James Paget, at that time a first-year medical student and known as one of the founders of medical pathology. He took a special interest in muscles that had white flecks, which he called sandy diaphragm. It took a whole two decades before his discovery gained wide acceptance in the medical community.

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