Trichinellosis is a parasitosis caused by ingestion of undercooked meat containing Trichinella species larvae.
The most important reservoir is the domestic pig, although a variety of other animals, including horses and wild carnivores, can be the source of infection.
Biphasic disease characterized by a gastrointestinal (enteric) phase followed by a systemic (parenteral) phase.
The intestinal phase occurs within a few days of ingestion of the parasite and manifests with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The systemic phase most commonly manifests with fever, eosinophilic myositis, myalgia, and periorbital edema, although it may also cause myocarditis and encephalitis.
Disease severity can range from asymptomatic infection to fatal disease. However, a full recovery within 6 weeks to 6 months is the most common course.
Treatment is with an anthelmintic and, occasionally, prednisone.
Appropriate cooking of meat is key to prevention of the disease.
Trichinellosis is a parasitosis caused by the ingestion of raw or undercooked meat (usually pork) containing Trichinella species cysts. It is a biphasic disease characterized by a gastrointestinal (enteric) phase followed by a systemic (parenteral) phase. The intestinal phase occurs within a few days of ingesting the parasite and manifests with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. After the first week, larvae released from the cysts become adult worms and mate. The female parasites then release newborn larvae that disseminate, leading to the systemic phase. This phase manifests with fever, eosinophilic myositis, myalgia, and periorbital edema. Rarely, it may also cause myocarditis or encephalitis.
History and exam
Key diagnostic factors
- consumption of raw or undercooked meat
- sick contacts
- myalgia and myositis
- periorbital/facial edema
- conjunctivitis and subconjunctival hemorrhages
Other diagnostic factors
- subungual and retinal splinter hemorrhages
- other ocular features
- gastrointestinal signs and symptoms
- maculopapular rash
- other cutaneous features
- paralysis-like state
- other neurologic features
- consumption of raw or undercooked pork
- consumption of raw or undercooked horse or other domestic animal meat
- consumption of raw or undercooked wild game meat
- consumption of raw or undercooked reptile meat
1st investigations to order
- CBC with differential
- creatine kinase and other muscle enzymes
- serum potassium
- serum albumin
- serum IgE
Investigations to consider
- antibody serology
- muscle biopsy
- serum creatinine and creatinine clearance
- serum aminotransferases
- MRI or CT brain
- cerebrospinal fluid analysis
- serum troponin
- Two-dimensional echocardiography
- Bacterial gastroenteritis
- Respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infections
- International Commission on Trichinellosis: recommendations on the use of serological tests for the detection of
- FAO/WHO/OIE guidelines for the surveillance, management, prevention and control of trichinellosis
Diarrhea in adults
Diarrhea in childrenMore Patient leaflets
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