Trichinosis is a parasitic infection caused by eating
food contaminated with the larvae (developing
phase) of a worm called Trichinella.
Persons with trichinosis usually have:
Following the first symptoms:
Aching joints and muscle
Diarrhea or constipation
If the infection is heavy, patients
may experience difficulty coordinating movements,
and have heart and breathing problems. In severe
cases, death can occur.
Who gets trichinosis?
Anyone can get trichinosis if they eat raw or
undercooked pork and wild game products infected
with Trichinella. Infection occurs worldwide, but is
most common in areas where raw or undercooked
pork, such as ham or sausage, is eaten.
How is trichinosis spread?
You get trichinosis by eating food contaminated with
Trichinella. The infection cannot be spread from one
person to another.
How soon after exposure do symptoms
Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-2 days after
infection. Other symptoms usually start 2-8 weeks
later. Symptoms may range from very mild to severe depending on the number of infectious worms
How is trichinosis diagnosed?
Trichinosis is diagnosed by a blood test or muscle
What is the treatment for trichinosis?
Several safe and effective prescription drugs are
available to treat trichinosis. Treatment should begin
as soon as possible.
How can trichinosis be prevented?
Cook meat products until the juices run clear or
to an internal temperature of 170° F.
Freeze pork products less than 6 inches thick for
20 days at 5° F to kill any worms.
Cook wild game meat thoroughly.
game meats, unlike freezing pork products, even
for long periods of time, may not effectively kill all worms.
Cook all meat or garbage that is fed to pigs or
Do not allow hogs to eat uncooked carcasses of
other animals, including rats, which may be
infected with trichinosis.
Clean meat grinders thoroughly if you prepare
your own ground meats.
Curing (salting), drying, smoking or
microwaving meat does not consistently kill
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.