Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Trichinosis facts
- What is trichinosis?
- What are symptoms of trichinosis?
- What causes trichinosis?
- What is the history and life cycle of trichinosis?
- How is trichinosis diagnosed?
- How is trichinosis treated?
- Are there complications associated with trichinosis?
- What is the prognosis for patients with trichinosis?
- What are the risk factors for getting trichinosis?
- Is trichinosis a common disease?
- Is it possible to prevent trichinosis?
- Where can I get more information on trichinosis?
Is trichinosis a common disease?
Trichinosis is a common disease in many wild carnivorous and omnivorous animals worldwide, except for Australia. Because of strict measures by the meat (pork) industry and public-health authorities, especially in developed countries, the incidence of disease in humans has dropped dramatically in the last few decades. For example, the United States has averaged only about 12-20 cases per year in the last two decades. However, there are outbreaks that occur sporadically in the world when meat (especially pork) is improperly cooked or is contaminated with undercooked or raw wild-game meat. If the source of the outbreak is a meat supplier, hundreds of people can become infected as was the situation that occurred in Poland in 2007.
Is it possible to prevent trichinosis?
Yes, trichinosis can be prevented. The CDC has outlined specific ways to prevent this disease as follows:
- The best way to prevent trichinellosis is to cook meat to safe temperatures. A food thermometer should be used to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat. Do not sample meat until it is cooked. USDA recommends the following for meat preparation.
- For whole cuts of meat (excluding poultry and wild game)
- Cook to at least 145 F (63 C) as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allow the meat to rest* for three minutes before carving or consuming.
- For ground meat (including wild game, excluding poultry)
- Cook to at least 160 F (71 C); ground meats do not require a rest* time.
- For all wild game (whole cuts and ground)
- Cook to at least 160 F (71 C).
- For all poultry (whole cuts and ground)
- Cook to at least 165 F (74 C), and for whole poultry, allow the meat to rest* for three minutes before carving or consuming.
*According to USDA, "A 'rest time' is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys pathogens."
Where can I get more information on trichinosis?
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites -- Trichinellosis: Biology." Aug. 8, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/trichinellosis/biology.html>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites -- Trichinellosis: Prevention & Control." July 19, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/trichinellosis/prevent.html>.
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